Each year, many people are affected by prescription opioid abuse. Some of these people are addicted themselves, while other people are affected because of somebody that they love. The CDC has recently begun the Rx Awareness Campaign which shares the stories of real people who experienced opioid addiction at some point in their life. These medications serve their purpose in society. But more often than not, they are abused on a recreational level or by being overused or shared. The overall goal is to decrease the number of people who are misusing opioids.
When Does A Problem Occur?
Approximately 50 percent of all opioid deaths occur from a prescription opioid. The number of these deaths has tripled since 1999. The overall prescribing of these medications has increased as well. The problem lies in a number of areas. For one, more and more doctors are prescribing this category of medication when there could potentially be another option. When prescribed, these medications are being directed to be used too frequently and many times the doses are too high. Because of the overabundance of the medication, they are even being shared with other people who become addicted and then seek out the medication on their own for their own use. When a person uses an opioid as directed, they can still become addicted. When a patient notices this happening, there is a lack of resources to help get the person back on track or to assist with removing them from the medication.
Looking For Action
There are steps that can be taken to assist with the opioid crisis. You can help:
- if you are a healthcare provider
- if you work in law enforcement
- if you are a public health official
- you have a family member that is abusing one of these drugs
Taking action to end this crisis and epidemic is important. Everybody can play a part and looking for ways to act can include:
- Learning more about the opioid crisis so you can better diagnose an issue and know where to get help.
- Educate yourself about the overdose assistance in your area. There are medications that can help save a life and can be used effectively if an overdose is recognized quickly enough and help is sought out.
- It is important to spread the word so more people are aware of the problem and also know what they can do on a local level to help out.
Who Is To Blame?
While it is tempting to place blame on someone, there isn’t one party that is solely responsible for our opioid crisis. There is responsibility on the part of a medical professional to make sure they are properly prescribing a medication and that it is being used responsibly. Law enforcement is responsible for making sure that these drugs are staying in medicine cabinets rather than ending up on the street where they are being abused.
As we move forward, a lot of change is occurring on a state and local level. There are departments and organizations that are participating in the CDC’s Rx Awareness Campaign. and utilizing campaign materials to make change by way of:
- awareness and much more.