Opioid Addiction Epidemic Action Plan
July 21, 2017
It has been roughly two decades since the opioid addiction epidemic in America began. The “fall” came slowly, but gains momentum with each year that passes. And now, around hundred Americans die of an overdose every day of the week. As in myth, putting Pandora back in the box is no easy task, but efforts most continue if the tide is to be stemmed.
At Christians Drug Rehab, we have covered the epidemic at length. We have a vested interest in doing so. After all, we have treated scores of Americans who began using prescription opioids for pain, only to become dependent. In some cases, it became difficult to keep their dependence fed. The byproduct of state and federal government crackdowns on prescribing practices. Those very same people, were forced to turn to the black market to get their opioids. Either illicit painkillers or heroin.
There have been debates as to what led to the scourge of heroin use in this country, of late. But, there is seemingly an overwhelming number of experts who believe that prescription opioids were the catalyst. Overprescribing, cutbacks, failure to provide access to addiction treatment. Three things that resulted in the heroin crisis of today, with somewhere between 500,000 and million heroin abusers in America currently, according to some estimates. It is possible that the number is even higher. Addicts are not always the most willing to take part in surveys, as you could probably imagine.
Opioid False Promises
Efforts to curb the opioid addiction epidemic have come in several forms: Emphasizing opioid alternatives, prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP), closing “pill mills” and increasing access to addiction treatment services. Legislators have passed measures to ensure that everything that can be done, will be done in this most desperate fight to save American lives.
Unfortunately, despite small gains in certain areas of the epidemic in a few states, the problem lingers on. America continues to be the biggest prescriber of opioid painkillers, with Americans using the bulk of the world’s prescription opioid supply. Despite the epidemic, many doctors still prescribe recklessly. Many are unskilled in spotting signs of addiction and drop the ball in recommending addiction treatment services to their patients. It remains clear that ending the opioid epidemic is something that will take as much time as it took to get into this mess in the first place. Which is something that experts can agree on.
In fact, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine includes an “action plan” to combat the U.S. opioid epidemic, HealthDay reports. However, experts believe that the opioid addiction catastrophe will take years to sort out. The action plan is essentially a road map for getting us out of this and it includes utilizing:
- Stricter Prescription Practices
- Expanding Access to Addiction Treatment
- Physician-Patient Education
- More Research On Opioid Alternatives
“While public awareness of the opioid epidemic is growing, the mobilization of an effective infrastructure to adequately address the burden of illness still lags far behind,” said Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Perhaps the most important move, as salient as ending excessive prescribing, is getting people who are already addicted into treatment. Reducing demand comes by way of recovery. If you or a loved one is battling an opioid use disorder, please contact Christians Drug Rehab. We can help break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools to live a life in recovery.