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Friday, August 4, 2017

Addiction Treatment: Answer to The Opioid Epidemic

addiction treatment
One of the problems with tackling the American opioid addiction epidemic is its unprecedented nature. Sure, we have faced drug addiction crises in the past, but nothing as severe nor as deadly. Coupled with the fact that the opioids being abused are coming from several different fronts. On the one hand, we have opioid painkillers prescribed by doctors—in many cases over-prescribed. Then there is the problem of heroin and even more deadly fentanyl coming from Mexico. However, and more importantly: Where these dangerous drugs are originating is not as salient as what is to be done about the millions of Americans already in the grips of an opioid use disorder.

You have seen the headlines, whether you are in the field of addiction or not, you know that the problem we face is catastrophic. You have heard of various pieces of legislation crafted to combat the epidemic, right? Perhaps you thought that it would have a significant impact on lowering the death toll? Unfortunately, that has not been the case, showing once again that this crisis will not dissipate without putting up a fight.

This week, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a preliminary report citing data which estimates the daily overdose death toll at 142 Americans, the Associated Press reports. Yes, 142 mothers, daughters, fathers and sons' lives cut short by a mental illness which can be effectively treated. And yet, the clear majority of the over 2 million people with an opioid use disorder have not been benefited by addiction treatment services.


Addiction Treatment Has Always Been The Solution

Lawmakers can make it harder to acquire prescription opioids. Doctors can utilize prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) to identify risky patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can mandate the use of abuse-deterrent painkiller formulas. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) can double their efforts at the border to mitigate the number of drugs making it across. The aforementioned efforts are sure to help, potentially saving many lives.

The reality, though, must be faced. Right now, prescription opioids are the most effective method of pain management. Doctors will continue to prescribe them to patients exhibiting the need. PDMP’s can make doctor shopping harder, but many prescription opioids can be acquired on the black market. Addicts are notorious for finding ways to circumvent abuse deterrent drug properties. The cartels will find new ways to get around the DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

If people are living with untreated addiction, they will find a way to get their hands on the drugs they seek. If there is demand, supply is sure to follow. Just as the “war on drugs’ proved to be an unwinnable fight, targeting the opioid supply will not have the desired effect. Conversely, placing greater focus on the demand, is the best option.

This is accomplished by providing greater access to treatment, emphasizing recovery over punishment. A fact that has not been lost on the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, who has asked the President to declare a national emergency regarding the epidemic. The commission states that such a declaration would “force Congress to focus on funding” and to “awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”


Addiction Treatment Can Save Your Life

If you, or someone you love, suffers from an opioid use disorder—treatment is perhaps the only thing that can prevent catastrophe. The likelihood of an overdose is extremely high, a question of “when” not “if.” Please do not hesitate, contact us at Whiteside Manor. We can help break the cycle of addiction and show you how living a life in recovery is possible.

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