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13 October
Experts look for effective ways to deal with worsening opioid epidemic
By Rachael

Experts look for effective ways to deal with worsening opioid epidemic

The drug problem of the United States has grown tremendously with increasing occurrences of opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 91 Americans die every day from cases of drug overdose, including that of prescription opioids.

According to the recently released 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 11.5 million Americans aged 12 or older were the current misusers of prescription pain relievers during the year, whereas approximately 11.8 million people in the same age group misused opioids.

Opioid addiction has garnered a lot of attention from the public, policy makers and the medical fraternity for whom education about the epidemic and improved access to treatment have become the top priority. The federal government has even declared it as a national emergency.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein of the U.S. Department of Justice, opines that simply understanding about drug abuse is not going to help; the need of the hour is to be honest and forthcoming about the clear and present threat to the nation. Such realization has indicated a new stance on the country’s fight against the crisis, attracting federal response on every level. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even developed a comprehensive opioids action plan to reduce its impact and help communities recover.

Contrary opinions to handle the crisis

While efforts are being made to bring the situation under control, some people are of a different view. One such instance came to light in June 2017 where Ohio council member Dan Picard proposed a three-strikes-style policy for people who repeatedly overdose, saying that they would not receive assistance from the public authorities as it can diminish the resources. He termed the proposal beneficial for the “survivability” of the city due to fund constraints.

Similarly, Ohio county Sheriff Richard Jones also opposes the use of naloxone, an anti-overdose drug, as it can cause overdose victims to “become hostile and violent after being revived,” terming such situations risky for his deputies. Such developments are not indicative of a positive outlook and considering the epic proportion of the problem, successful initiatives should be replicated in order to respond to public concerns and those of the authorities.

On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts to tackle the opioid crises by laying emphasis on five major points:

  1. Facilitating access to treatment and recovery services
  2. Promoting use of overdose reversing drugs
  3. Improving understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. Providing support for meaningful research on addiction and pain
  5. Advancing better practices for pain management

Further, in line with one of the five major priorities of promoting the use of overdose reversing drugs, the role of naloxone cannot be undermined. It is known to block the reward centers in the brain associated with pleasure induced by drug-taking behavior and it can successfully reverse an overdose. There are other effective opioid addiction treatments available such as medication assisted treatment (MAT) which combines behavioral counselling for a ‘whole patient’ approach, cognitive behavioral therapy and equine-assisted therapy.

Treatment for opioid addiction

Many people are in the habit of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other illicit drugs without realizing the harmful effects. With the emerging demand and supply for street drugs that replicate pharmaceutical drugs, the risks have become even more alarming. Unscrupulous dealers often sell drugs laced with more potent synthetic drugs, which can cause instant death. Drug abuse starts with the habitual use of prescription drugs but slowly turns into intentional use. People abusing such drugs should be aware of the risks as well as the treatments available that can help them recover from the addiction before it is too late.

Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline can provide you with more information about addiction and connect you to treatment facilities that ensure long-term recovery. Call us on our 24/7 helpline (866) 692-3563 to get details about the finest prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona. You can also chat with one of our trained professionals to get details about the finest prescription abuse treatment clinic in Arizona.


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