If this nation is engaged in a war with opioids, the drugs appear to be winning. An estimated 64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses last year, and more than 80 percent of those deaths were opioid-related.
While President Donald Trump declared the epidemic a “public health emergency” last fall, he did not identify any new sources of funding to help fight this battle within American communities. The unfortunate fact is that the war will have to be waged with limited resources for the time being. Here is how various policymakers, addiction specialists, and advocacy groups are fighting the nation’s opioid crisis.
Limiting Access to Certain Drugs
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has created a detailed guide for policymakers to prevent, provide early intervention, and treat substance abuse in their communities. This guide is aimed at legislatures, public and private administrators, insurance companies, and healthcare providers.
One of the ways that the guide proposes to limit access to addictive drugs is for states to implement a strict Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Studies have shown that statewide use of a PDMP can reduce oxycodone-related deaths by as much as 25 percent. The guide also recommends additional training for healthcare providers by giving them specific guidelines for the use of opioid medications.
Keeping People Alive
The White House reports that 175 people are going to die each day of a drug overdose until this crisis is brought under control. Since more than 11.5 million Americans are taking prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons, it is essential to find ways to prevent their deaths while working for more permanent solutions. The most effective way to do this is to get as much Naloxone into the hands of first responders and even the public as possible so that the effects of an overdose can be quickly countered.
Providing Addiction Treatment Resources
Moving past just putting a band-aid on the problem, there is an unfilled need for addiction treatment in the United States. The President’s commission to study this issue found that just one in ten of the 21 million people with a substance use disorder was receiving specialized treatment. Certain barriers still exist, such as limits on Medicaid payments to smaller treatment facilities and the availability of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
In addition to MAT, some of the more effective means of addiction treatment include counseling, therapy, attending a treatment program, and participating in support groups. Once a person has detoxed from drugs, he or she is at high risk for relapse unless the social and psychological factors of addiction are also addressed. Drug treatment can accomplish this with a combination of counseling, individual and group therapy, other types of therapy, and the introduction of local support groups.
Where to Seek Qualified Drug Addiction Treatment
Even though American society still has a long road ahead to defeat the current addiction crisis, those who are suffering need not do so alone. If you or any of your loved ones have been struggling with substance abuse, there is qualified and affordable help available now. The Recovery Village offers comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment in a safe environment. Contact us today find out about our programs and learn about how you can break free from the chains of addiction for good.