Breanna Hill, News Editor
There has long been an issue with opioid abuse, but during the year of 2016 the rate of opioid overdoses began to skyrocket. In 2016 it was reported that approximately 59,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdose, and that prescribed drugs is one of the main causes of deaths.
What even are opioids, though? Opioids are drugs formulated specifically to help relax your body and reduce the feeling of pain. They usually contain morphine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone to help with chronic pain. Opioids get in your system and bind to receptors in the brain and partly in the spinal cord, and manage to disrupt pain signals.
The opioid epidemic has blown up so quickly and so forcefully that states are beginning to receive waivers to allow Medicaid to pay for treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction. So far, seven states have received these waivers, and have begun to contribute to the process of lessening the number of opioid abuse.
The chilling and haunting statistics show that roughly 21-29 percent of patients that are prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them, and that 4-6 percent end up transitioning to heroin.
The citizens of the U.S. have been in a frenzy, trying to figure out how to stop the situation from growing even more out of control than it already is, and most of the citizens have turned to the Department of Health and Human Services. The DHHS responded, noting that they have five main focus points:
1. Improving access to treatment and recovery services.
2. Promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs.
3. Strengthening our understanding of the crisis.
4. Providing support.
5. Advancing better practices.
The DHHS can only do so much, though. We have to band together to help our loved ones, neighbors, colleagues, peers, and anybody else who may be suffering from opioid abuse. The amount of overdoses that loom throughout the U.S. is unimaginable. If you happen to know of anybody suffering from this tragic epidemic help them out. There are tons of rehabilitation centers around the United States, each willing to help out. Take a stand and help fight against opioid abuse.