Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic
The non-medical use of opioids has risen serious problems that are threatening the health of the population. Rises in addiction, overdose and deaths have gained the attention of the public as well as local, state, federal, and tribal leaders across the country (Trotter, Bateman, & Avorn, 2017). Last year alone the Unites States spend over $3 trillion on health care costs but health outcomes are amongst the lowest in the industrial world. Opioid addiction has become more then just a problem it is now an epidemic.
Early detection of this illicit drugs addiction could be the first step in helping (United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, Pensions., 2005). A part of the solution to better manage opioid distribution is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Building awareness to PDMP can help in cutting down on people shopping for different doctors trying to obtain same prescription. Although the prescription drug monitoring program has been implemented in most of United States to track the distribution of opioids to individuals to better treat patients it has also helps physicians not over prescribe these drugs to patients by detecting if the person history of prescription puts them at a high risk for opioid addiction (United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, Pensions., 2005). Many states that have implemented a prescription drug monitoring program have realized the benefits it has produced (United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, Pensions, 2005). Implementing better pain management, like limiting prescriptions pain medication and the amount of times it can be prescribed to one person. Another approach to help with the opioid epidemic is utilizing psychologist. Psychologist play a big role in helping this opioid epidemic by implementing good behavior and better decision making. Phycologist address the multifaceted nature, psychopharmacology and behavior intervention and eventually how-to training workforce in recovery. Also, increasing access to Narcan which is an opioid overdose kit that can help this epidemic tremendously because anyone can run into a person that has overdosed and need help, this kit is an opioid antagonist that reverses the overdose and respiratory depression. The Narcan costs between $20- $40 dollars for the full kit, which should be handed out freely in my opinion especially if you are saving a person’s life. The distribution of these kits should be provided in communities that have the most poverty. Opioids are not only affecting the less fortunate working people are also being affected by this epidemic which is why employers need to better support their employees. Employees could start by forming employee assistant programs. Communities could also contribute by innovating voluntary programs were people could request help like in police stations or even hospitals. Available now in some counties are drop-in centers were support groups are formed that involves the families as well. Truck mobilization events in communities to educate people of the opioid epidemic, ways to help, early signs of detection, how to report anyone selling prescription drugs, and locations of where to get help for people seeking rehabilitation. As for laws like prescribing short term opioids, this could cause a bigger issue especially for people in serious pain that rely on these prescriptions to manage their pain. Although it helps with the other part which is addiction because now those people don’t have access to the opioids. So, if it is taken away then an increase treatment access should be implemented. Like behavioral treatment, medication assessment treatment, and better pain management because a lot of the people addicted to opioids had a legitimate pain addiction when they started the use of the drug.
This opioid epidemic isn’t something that will be resolved from one day to the other. It is going to take a chain of people working together including all doctors, hospitals, community’s government, law enforcement and families. The world would need to work together to put a stop to addiction in general.
Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic