Tennessee is one of the states hit hardest by the nation’s opioid epidemic which began about 20 years ago and had a stark increase since 2009, now reaching unprecedented levels across the county with a 200% increase in the rate of deaths involving opioids (Rudd, Aleshire, Zibbell, & Gladden, 2016; Fletcher, 2016). In Tennessee specifically, it is estimated that about 1 in 6 abuse opioids; the CDC estimates that for every one person who dies from an opioid overdose in Tennessee there are 851 others in the state who are in various stages of their abuse, misuse, and treatment; and the most recent statistics show that opioid overdoses alone make up about 7.7% of deaths in Tennessee, making them responsible for more deaths than car accidents in the state (Botticelli, 2016; Rudd, Aleshire, Zibbell, & Gladden, 2016; Fletcher, 2016; ONDCP, 2016; Thompson, 2016).
Heroin and opioids have grown in appearance in communities. Since, 2008 in Allegheny County alone there was more than two thousand overdose deaths, with one hundred-seventy-seven deaths in this year alone (Pennsylvania). Furthermore, in 2015 there was only one -hundred-twenty-six;
Various levels of governments in different communities across North America have initiated programs to deal with the opioid epidemic and its effect. Some of these initiatives will be examined in more details below.
The United States of America has had a war against drugs since the 37th president, Richard Nixon, declared more crimination on drug abuse in June 1971. From mid-1990s to today, a crisis challenges the health department and government on opioid regulation, as millions of Americans die due overdoses of painkillers. Opioids are substances used as painkillers, and they range from prescription medications to the illegal drug, heroin. Abusing these substances can cause a dependency or addiction, which can lead to overdoses, physical damages, emotional trauma, and death. To ease the crisis, physicians are asked to depend on alternatives to pain management. Law enforcement cracks down on profiting drug-dealers and heroin abusers. People are warned against misusing opioids. The controversy begins for those who suffer from chronic pain, because they depend on opioids. There’s so a correlation to the 1980s cocaine epidemic, and people are upset over racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the best way to avoid this crisis is to recover the people at risk, reduce inappropriate opioid description, and have a proper response.
Many people may not realize this but multiple states, including Michigan, are facing an epidemic. It is not a disease, however, it is a heroin epidemic. In a country where addictive opioid pain-killer prescriptions are handed out like candy, it not surprising heroin, also known as smack or thunder, has become a serious problem. The current heroin epidemic Michigan is facing, as are dozens of other states, has spiraled out of control in recent years. In Michigan, some of the areas hit hardest by this drug are in the southern portion of the state, like Wayne, Oakland, and Monroe Counties. The connection between painkillers and heroin may not be clear, but this is because both are classified as opioid drugs, and therefore cause many of the same positive and negative side effects. As a country, we are currently the largest consumer of opioids in the world; almost the entire world supply of hydrocodone (the opioid in Vicodin) and 81% of the world’s oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin) is used by the United States (Volkow). Along with consuming most of the world’s most common opioids, we have gone from 76 million of these prescriptions in 1991 to 207 million in 2013 – constantly increasing except for a small decrease starting in 2012 (Volkow). This widespread use has caused numerous consequences from increasing emergency room visits – for both painkillers and heroin – to sky-rocking overdose cases all over the country (Volkow). Michigan, unfortunately, currently has one of the
An increase in drug use, specifically opiates, has overwhelmed the United States. This behavior has led to a rise in the transmission of HIV/Hepatitis C which would be otherwise preventable. The needle exchange programs in Moorhead, Milwaukee, and Scott County are working to lower the transmission rate and increase participation in treatment programs.
As the number of intravenous drug users continues to rise, so does the risk of dangerous and potentially fatal complications that are associated with illicit drug use. In this population, death rates are higher due to overdose, AIDs-related mortality, and other blood-borne viruses (Mathers et al., 2013). Mortality rates remain high even though precautions have been taken to reduce them. According to Lavender & McCarron (2013), “Mortality in injecting drug users is up to 22 times higher than for the age-adjusted population, despite increased provision of needle and syringe programs, reduced needle and syringe sharing, and higher uptake of hepatitis B vaccination” (p. 511).
Depending on the source, some would term the heroin and opioid problem in the United States a crisis, while others would use the word epidemic. Regardless of which expression is more accurate, the situation regarding heroin and opioid use, abuse and dependence has ignited national, if not global concern. History shows us that pervasive dilemmas have a tendency to cultivate a variety of intervention and the heroin and opioid crisis is no different.
Sharing of needles used by injection drug users contributes heavily to the spread of blood-borne diseases, accounting for almost one third of new HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa (Ball, 2007). Various studies support that blood-borne disease transmission and contraction are strongly linked to injection drug use. A study conducted by Semaan et al. that analyzed data of 10,301 persons who inject drugs in revealed that 32% had shared syringes during the 12 months prior (Semaan et al., 2011). A second study involving 309 injection drug users found HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C prevalence of 42.4%, 80.9%, and 74.1%, respectively. The study also revealed that 63.8% of the participants engaged in indirect sharing practices within six months prior.
The drug epidemic in America is a growing problem and continuing to take hundreds of lives everyday, particularly opioids. These highly addictive drugs are taking the world by storm and claiming thousands of life with no remorse. The pharmaceutical industry is making millions off the addiction and pain of the American people causing a widespread of drug overdoses and deaths all across the United States. According to The New York Times, “Public Health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,00 people in 2015.” (Scott Morgan) Addiction, money, and the vulnerability all play a part in the opioid widespread epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is not an issue that can be solved in a timely manner. Solving this world issue has to be accompanied by cooperation from addicts and their supporters. This epidemic hits home with a surrounding town ranked 5th in the nation for opioid abuse. With that said, the hope is within the coming years, the epidemic can be resolved and people’s lives can be
Some residents of New Hanover County find that statistic new and shocking. However, many others have dealt with the issue for a significant amount of time. As you leave the tourist areas of New Hanover County, you find public housing projects, trailer parks, and parks littered with discarded hypodermic needles. To people who live in these places, the opioid crisis already made an impact on everyday life and no longer captures people’s attention. For example, Joe Stanley, a former addict interviewed by NC Policy Watch said that people in Wilmington had been dealing with a drug problem for years. However, it has become big news “because you’re seeing that other demographic
The opioid epidemic that has taken over the United States is likely the largest public health crisis that our country has faced in the 21st century. It has torn countless families and small rural communities apart in its wake, and does not currently show signs of slowing down anytime in the near future. In the last couple decades, the United States’ government has addressed the epidemic as a criminal problem. Treating those affected by the opioid crisis like criminals has not yielded positive results overall. For some time, the public opinion has predominantly been that this epidemic should not be blamed on anyone other than those who take these opioids, and that it is their own personal downfalls and bad judgement that is responsible for their specific situation. While opioid abusers certainly deserve some accountability for their actions, there is abundant evidence of greater forces at work that have a lot of influence on their decisions.
Nonmedical Prescription-Opioid abuse in the United States and Michigan has continued to rise, and with it, the devastating results that accompany it. Research has shown that increased opioid abuse leads to an increase in overdose and death, increases in crime and increased incidences of costly blood borne diseases like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis. It also leads to increased societal costs, such as an increasing number of children in foster care and increased healthcare, workplace and criminal justice costs that can decimate communities and local budgets. Many communities were caught with their heads in the sand, as they were overwhelmed by the influx of prescription opioids into their communities. When policies were finally implemented to curb the amount of prescription opioids in their communities, rates of heroin use (also an opioid) began to skyrocket and people began realizing they had an opioid epidemic on their hands. How to combat this heroin epidemic has been the topic of many debates. This article will attempt to examine the relationship of nonmedical prescription-opioid abuse and its effects on heroin use.
Opioids are making a resurgence in the black market, evident by the rapidly increasing opioid overdose rates in an increasing fatality count for Maryland every year. The state and local governments have been working to alleviate the issue with increased access to counteractive medications and required rehabilitation. This, however, is draining government funds only to stall, if not worsen, the problem. The best approach to stopping the opioid epidemic of Maryland is to take a similar approach to smoking in treating the situation as a matter of addiction instead of one of drug abuse.