The Opioid Epidemic

Posted by sueannecampbell in Primary Care with No Comments

The Opioid Epidemic

There is an opioid (pain killer) epidemic that is sweeping across America. Opioids include drugs such as: oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. These prescription drugs have caused overdosing deaths to quadruple over the past 15 years. In the year 2015, approximately 22,000 deaths have occurred due to prescription opioids. Opioids are starting to be handed out like candy in today’s health world which has caused patients to get hooked on these drugs and even sell them on the streets.  There has also been a recent increase in illegally made opioids such as heroin which has also swept across America. So how can opioid addiction be prevented? Prescribers need to follow stricter guidelines when handing out this medication. This will lead to less medication being handed out and expand other safer and more effective treatments to be carried out (CDC, 2017).

Some patients may also be unaware about the problems that opioids can cause. Prescribers need to state the pros and cons of the drugs and leave it up to the patient to decide what they want to do. The less opioid medication that is out on the streets, the safer the country will be from overdosing and becoming addicted. Opioid deaths and addiction has grown out of control in Michigan. The East coast of America has been hit the hardest, but Michigan has had their drug over dose rate jump up over 13% in the year from 2014 to 2105. Many police departments are trying to change their strategy to combat this epidemic. Police officers are now being taught to still uphold the law, but be counselors and almost play the role of social workers so that the people they encounter do not fall down the same path again and choose to break the addiction (Zezima, 2017). There are many organizations that are willing to help with addiction problems, so if one has an opioid addiction problem or knows someone who does, it is important to get on the phone and contact an organization that is willing to help.

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