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Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.

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08-10 Measures undertaken to control US opioid epidemic

Posted in Opioid addiction, Opioids, Prescription drug abuse by Rachael - 0 Comments
Measures undertaken to control US opioid epidemic

With the increased penetration of opioid abuse across the United States, the need for an effective collaboration is important to exercise control over this epidemic. As a large number of people are succumbing to overdose deaths due to opioids, it has become essential to find a concrete solution. One can understand the hair-raising impact of opioids by the fact that 80 percent of the global supply of opioids is consumed by the less than 5 percent of the world population of the U.S.

Drug overdose deaths are one of the leading causes of death and a majority of these deaths (more than six out of 10) involve an opioid. Opioid addiction is a serious public health issue in the U.S. and the scourge leaves no stone unturned in wrecking a havoc in the life of the users. The trend has reached an epidemic proportion, with 91 Americans dying of an opioid overdose every day. The statistics on the sale of opioid abuse in the U.S. reveal that it has increased nearly four times between 1999 and 2014, with no change in the overall amount of pain reported. Also alarming is the fact that heroin-related deaths have increased more than three times between 2010 and 2015.

Simple ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths

On the surface, it looks like the solution to the opioid abuse is all sorted out. However, one of the undeniable truth is that lack of awareness and effective treatment has worsened the overall situation. A few simple steps if followed can effectively manage the opioid problem:

  • Ensure prescription of opioids are responsibly written by the medical fraternity to prevent illicit access and abuse of these medications.
  • Ensure the expansion of access to evidence-based treatment to encourage hassle-free enrollment of the people struggling with opioid addiction.
  • Provide easy access to the antidote naloxone to safely reverse opioid overdose.
  • Promote prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) so that all practitioners use the information to ascertain the history of patients before prescribing specific drugs to them. This would ensure patient safety and prevent drug abuse.

Initiatives undertaken by state governments to control opioid crisis

Each state has broad authority to regulate the prescription and distribution of opioids. But each state has its own unique challenges and therefore they are not uniform in their approach toward this crisis. Though a broad range of initiatives have been implemented across the nation, a few that top the list are as follows:

  • Prevention of overdose: By promoting good Samaritan laws that are designed to protect those who are willing to report overdoses and access to naloxone, overdose cases have been controlled at an incredible rate. Interestingly, Samaritan laws are now active in 23 states, and naloxone is available in 28 states.
  • Integration of medication-assisted treatment: Around 29 states increased funding for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction although the choice of medication differs from state to state. While 12 states opted for naltrexone, 10 for methadone and five for buprenorphine. The funding toward these medications also varied from state to state. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved an implant called Probuphine, which releases buprenorphine into the body.
  • Improved access to treatment: Many states have undertaken multiple initiatives to increase access to recovery support services and all evidence-based therapies. Some states have also taken initiatives to reform treatment measures in the criminal justice system.
  • Establishment of guidelines: Almost 26 states have established some form of guideline for safely prescribing opioids. Moreover, 23 states are focusing on the use of PDMPs and 14 states have enacted laws to regulate pain clinics.
  • Spreading education: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have taken a number of educational initiatives on a high priority basis to forewarn about opioid addiction. While 48 states have embarked on education initiatives for the public, 31 states have aimed at educating the prescribers and 24 states are targeting patients and family.

Recovery road map

Besides inflicting untimely deaths, opioid crisis has cut across every sector to affect each and every person. With the increase in the magnitude of the problem, the need for a broad response that brings together all stakeholders has surged to an immense extent.

If you or a loved one is battling prescription drug addiction, contact the Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline to access the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-922-5915 or chat online with our medical representatives to know more about the prescription abuse treatment centers in Colorado.