Last year there were over 64,000 reported opioid-related deaths in the United States – making it the leading cause of accidental death in people under the age of 50 in this country (Katz). Opioids, also referred to as painkillers, have become a growing problem over the past two decades particularly in rural communities all across the country where the death rates are higher per capita compared to the death rate in cities (“America’s Opioid Epidemic is Worsening”). These narcotics, such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone are extremely addictive and, as a result, this silent killer has quadrupled the overdose death toll since 1999
Opioid drugs are some of the most widespread pain medications that we have in this country; indeed, the fact is that opioid analgesic prescriptions have increased by over 300% from 1999 to 2010 (Mitch 989). Consequently, the number of deaths from overdose increased from 4000 to 16,600 a year in the same time frame (Mitch 989). This fact becomes even more frightening when you think about today; the annual number of fatal drug overdoses in the Unites States now surpasses that of motor vehicle deaths (Alexander 1865). Even worse, overdose deaths caused by opioids specifically exceed those attributed to both cocaine and heroin combined (Alexander 1865).
Part of this team are pharmacy interns who distribute naloxone (Narcan) rescue kits to the patient every saturday morning. The naloxone rescue kits were donated by the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation. The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation partnered with HCMC with a mission to heighten awareness of the dilemma of chronic pain and the disease of addiction and to improve the associated care process.4 The pharmacy intern spends about fifteen minutes educating the patients on signs and symptoms of opioid overdose, how to respond and how to use the naloxone rescue kits. This program has been successful with distribution of a total of 150 kits as of October of 2016. In addition, patients often provide success stories of occasions when they saved the lives of a loved one or a friend using the naloxone rescue
There is no question that the alarming rate of deaths related to opioid overdose needs to be addressed in this county, but the way to solve the problem seems to remain a trial and error approach at this point. A patient is injured, undergoes surgery, experiences normal wear and tear on a hip, knee or back and has to live with that pain for the rest of their life or take a narcotic pain medication in order to improve their quality of life and at least be able to move. The above patients are what narcotic pain medications were created for, a population of people that use narcotic pain medications for fun is what is creating a problem. Narcotics are addictive to both populations, however taking the narcotic for euphoric reasons is not the intention of the prescription that the physician is writing. The healthcare system needs to find a way to continue to provide patients that experience chronic pain with the narcotics that work for them while attempting to ensure the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) doesn’t have to worry about a flood of pain pills hitting the streets by granting access to the population with a substance abuse problem.
The United States currently faces an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction. This includes painkillers, heroin, and other drugs made from the same base chemical. In the couple of years, approximately one out of twenty Americans reported misuse or abuse of prescriptions painkillers. Heroin abuse and overdoses are on the rise and are the leading cause of injury deaths, surpassing car accidents and gun shots. The current problem differs from the opioid addiction outbreaks of the past in that it is also predominant in the middle and affluent classes. Ultimately, anyone can be fighting a battle with addiction and it is important for family members and loved ones to know the signs. The cause for this epidemic is that the current spike of opioid abuse can be traced to two decades of increased prescription rates for painkillers by well-meaning physicians.
I question are we saving lives with Naloxone or just prolonging it enough until they get a stronger version of heroin or one laced with fentanyl or carfentanyl. Thus, far the effectiveness that Naloxone have on the amount of opioid related overdoses has shown ineffective. The amount of lives saved from Naloxone has increased, however the number of overdoses and deaths have increased in the state of Maryland, since Naloxone has increased on the streets. My audience is for those who set the guidelines for the administration for Naloxone in the State of Maryland. Currently, in Maryland a person does not have to be trained to administer Naloxone. Anyone can go to their local pharmacy to get Naloxone at no cost. There should be more stringent guidelines on how Naloxone is distributed to the community. There should be an increase of education and not a decrease. This is important because educating the community has proven to be an effective intervention for drug use. Administering Naloxone without treatment is keeping people temporarily alive and addicted with the increase of overdoses and deaths in the long-term. Naloxone is reactive and without treatment have been proven ineffective. Naloxone is a short-term solution to
If you watch the news it should come as no surprise that drug abuse and overdoses have increased dramatically in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as 36 million people abuse opioids throughout the world with 2.1 million in the U.S. who currently suffer from opioid abuse disorders (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014). These astonishing numbers are only marginalized when comparing them to opioid related deaths in the United States. With an increase of 137 percent since 2000, deaths from drug overdoses now occur 1.5 times more often than deaths from motor vehicle accidents (Rudd Aleshire, Zibbell & Gladden, 2016). The opioid epidemic in the
Mike Alstott knows first-hand how opioids, when used correctly, can play an important role in managing pain and helping people to function, but he is also keenly aware of the growing crisis of opioid misuse and overdose. More American adults are dying from misusing prescription narcotics than ever before. An estimated 35 people die every day in the U.S. from accidental prescription painkiller overdoses resulting from things like not taking a medication as directed or not understanding how multiple
Substance abuse disorders have been considered a major epidemic by public health authorities during this century. Most recently, those who use, and abuse opioids have been in the spotlight. The growing number of overdoses, deaths, and individuals who are identified as opioid abusers has, of late, been the subject of media attention. Now coined “The Opioid
Painkillers are prescribed so fluently within doctors offices, hospitals, and other similar facilities. Part of the issue comes from our physicians and those patients who complain about their “pain.” Rarely do physicians say no to a begging patients, but also they rarely take the time to run the necessary test to find the root of the problem. As a beginning solution, educational classes on dealing with and treating chronic pain and how to properly dispose of unused pharmaceuticals like opioids are gaining popularity(Meldrum). With the proper knowledge, people can begin to understand how opioids become so addicting. Along with knowledge about the epidemic comes help for those affected. Treatment centers for those who need it should be implemented at a proper cost and with availability for everyone. Through the Affordable Care Act, treatment coverage has been broadened. This contributes to actual care for addicts rather than punitive measures. Along with treatment options, emotional support to an addict goes a long way. Addicts can return to a life full of bad choices when they feel as if no one cares to see them get better(Newcomer). With proper treatment and precautions, the epidemic can be solved.
Naloxone is an FDA approved overdose reversal medication. Naloxone is a prescription medication that when administered to an individual experiencing an opioid-related overdose restores the individual to consciousness and normal breathing (NAMSDL.org, 2016). Naloxone is always effective when administered correctly (NAMSDL.org, 2016). Since 2000, the drug overdose rate involving opioids has increased 200% (NAMSDL.org, 2016). Treatment centers, physicians and first responders in the rural areas of the United States need more access to naloxone to prevent opioid-related overdose deaths. The U.S Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stated, “People find themselves in overdose situations don’t have to lose their lives because family members or emergency responders don’t have access to the reversal drug naloxone” (Wolf, 2016). Expanding access to rural areas can save lives and prevent deaths.
As we all have researched and found out the devastating numbers to the opioid epidemic “the abuse of prescription and non-prescription opioids is one of the greatest threats facing public health in the United States today. It is estimated that as many as 2.5 million people in the US are suffering from opioid addiction related to prescriptions, and an additional 467,000 are addicted to heroin”(2017).
The use of opioids and other drugs continues to gradually increase in the United State. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999” (CDC website). Individuals are abusing prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. Prescriptions opioids that are supposed to be used as pain relievers, cough suppressants and for withdrawal symptoms are being use by individuals in order to feel relaxed or for the overwhelming effect of euphoria. These types of drugs are to be taken orally, but people are snorting, smoking, and injecting them in order to get a better high. I have personal encounters with opioid drugs and opioid abuser on a regular
America is in the midst of yet another drug-related epidemic only this time it is the worst opioid overdose epidemic the world has seen since the late 1990’s. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2016), “since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled.” Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. (Rudd, Seth, David, School, 2015). With overdoses from heroin, prescription drugs, and opioid pain relievers surpassing car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in America, it became clear that swift and comprehensive legislation was needed for treatment, recovery support and prevention education in communities
Misinformation is usually spread because someone presents their opinion as fact. Not many people even know how easy it is to overdose on heroin. For instance, a single shot of heroin can and, in many cases, does cause an overdose. First-time users are very different than experienced users; in fact, heroin users that have built a tolerance can use a much higher dose than a first-time user. As a result, the overpowering effect of the drug causes normal body functions like breathing to stop and the user could even die (Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs). Another common misconception spread to the younger generation is that if they do not intravenously use heroin then there is no risk of an overdose (Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs). While oral or nasal consumption comes with less of a negative stigmatism, the reality is that heroin is just as addictive, no matter what form of consumption one uses. On the other hand, one would think that the stigmatisms associated with heroin would actually prevent people from using and overdosing on the drug. The stigmatisms being that user’s are unhealthy, unhygienic, poor, and mentally unstable do deter some from not using. However, the fact that heroin overdoses are so prevalent proves that the desire to use is more powerful than any stigmatism or factual notion about heroin. As harmful as opinion-based information is, it will undoubtedly