Opioid addiction has been an issue of concern in the United States particularly among the youth and the adults suffering from various medical conditions such as injuries and chronic diseases. No household is immune to opioid addiction regardless of its social economic background. According to reports by the national institute of drug abuse in the united states approximately two million individuals abuse opioids within the county while approximately ninety Americans die due to opioid overdose every day in the country (Skolnick, 2018). Opioids tend to be a type of medication that is prescribed by a doctor to relieve pain from surgeries, injuries, and other chronic conditions. Opioids are usually safe when used correctly, however when people fail to follow the doctor’s prescription its use may lead to serious addiction. The signs and symptoms of opioid abuse and addiction may be behavioral, psychological, and physical. One of the main sign of opioid addiction is having difficulty stopping to use the drug. Other signs and symptoms of opioid addiction include; poor coordination, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, depression, constipation, and poor decision-making. There are various factors considered to be the main contributors of opioid abuse and addiction some of these factors include, unemployment, poverty, genetics, regular contact with the high-risk individuals and having problems with the previous employers. The aim of this study is to discuss the problem of opioid addiction in Columbus, and the most effective solutions to the problem.
Opioid Addiction in Columbus, Ohio
Opioid epidemic is an issue that has been affecting Columbus city in the recent past With its effects being experienced in most schools, churches, and businesses in Columbus and the entire Ohio state. According to research, a significant portion of the Columbus population is addicted to opioid drugs such as opioids medical prescription, and fentanyl (Skolnick, 2018). The continued uses and addiction to opioid drugs tend to affect the user’s relationship with their families, friends, and workmates. In Columbus approximately two people die due to unintentional drug overdose, however, it is considered that approximately 80% of those deaths are brought about by opioid abuse (Daniulaityte, Falck, Wang, & Carlson, 2009). Numerous residents are also being affected by opioid addiction and its devastating effects are also being felt in the Ohio state economy, child welfare system, healthcare system, and the local government agencies. According to reports most cases of opioid addiction in Columbus households usually start with the abuse of unsecured or unused prescription opioids (Carlson, Nahhas, Martins, & Daniulaityte, 2016). This kind of opioid abuse is mainly dominant among young youth who usually get drugs from families and friends since they do not have any other means of accessing the drugs.
The increased cases of opioid addiction in Columbus are as a result of various factors that include; first, the rate of opioid pain killer prescription in Ohio state tends to be high as compared to other states thus contributing to increased cases of addiction. For instance, in the year 2007, the health providers in Ohio had 63.5% opioid prescriptions for every one hundred individuals while the acceptable opioids prescription rate in the united states is 58.7% (Daniulaityte et al., 2009). According to research, it is considered that approximately 12% of first-time painkillers users usually become addicted at the first instance they take the opioid medication (Carlson et al., 2016). Therefore with the increased rate of opioid painkiller prescription, the rate of opioid addiction is also expected to increase. Secondly, most pharmacies in Columbus are selling the opioids painkillers to people without any proper medical prescription. This makes the opioids to be easily accessible to any person thus increasing the risks of abuse and addiction. Thirdly, The increase of illegal street drugs such as heroin, and fentanyl. Most of the opioids addicts in Columbus who cannot get the legal opioid painkiller prescription usually get opioids from the streets.
The solution to the Increased Opioid Addiction
Prevention and community education
Creating awareness through educating the population about the risks of opioid addiction tends to be effective in minimizing the rate of opioid abuse among the population. It is therefore important for the Columbus local government to pass a consistent prevention message that is aimed at educating families and individuals about the risks involved in early opioid abuse and also to warn them about the addictive nature of the opioid drugs. For instance, the patient, students, coaches, and educators should receive increased awareness and education from the responsible authorities on the risks of using the opioid prescription after getting any kind of injury and they should also be informed of the alternatives prescriptions other than the opiate medications. Focusing on community education and prevention efforts helps to minimize the number of individuals who intend to start using the opioids and also helps to identify the individuals who are affected by opioid addiction in the society so that they can be offered the needed help. Columbus authorities should also introduce a school-based program that is aimed at educating the students on the dangers of opioids use (Volkow, Wang, Fowler, & Tomasi, 2012). This will help to prevent the young population from starting to use opioid drugs at an early age.
Healthcare and risk reduction
Considering that opioid addiction is a health problem that usually starts after receiving medical pain prescriptions, healthcare providers should take the initiative of prescribing an alternative pain management method to reduces cases of opioid addiction. Some of the alternative pain management methods that can be prescribed include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. The opioids pain prescription should also not be sold in the pharmacy’s across Columbus to prevent people from accessing them. Implementing an alternative pain management method will help to reduce cases of opioids addiction particularly among the youths who usually get the drugs from friends and family members. On the other hand, the health care providers should be very keen in observing any signs of addiction among the patients receiving the opioid pain prescription. Early identification of addiction symptoms will help healthcare providers to take the appropriate action early enough before the situation gets worse(Carlson et al., 2016). For instance, the healthcare provider can decide to change the medical prescription to minimize the elevating effects of opioids drugs.
Treatment and support
The individuals suffering from opioid addiction should seek immediate medical treatment to reverse the changes caused by opioid abuse. For instance, the opioid addict can be subjected to a detoxification program to eliminate the opioid contents in the body(Daniulaityte et al., 2009). Access to medical treatment tends to be a crucial step in a person’s recovery journey since it helps people to regain their sobriety. To ensure that a person has fully recovered, one may also need other resources such as counseling, on-going medical treatment, and support from peers. These additional resources enable the opioid addict to remain focused and motivated that what they are doing is actually right.
Implementing strict policies
In Columbus, the sale and access of the opioid-related drugs in the pharmacies and street tends to be high since there are no specific policies in place to regulate their sale. The government should, therefore, implement policies that restrict the sale and use of opioids prescription and other street opioid drugs such as morphine, fentanyl, and heroin. Implementing this kind of policies will help to minimize the access of opioid-related drugs particularly for those individuals who are addicted to these drugs. Limited access to opioid-related drugs will force the individuals suffering from opioid addiction to seek medical treatment to minimize or to avoid experiencing the withdrawal effect. Heavy penalties and sentences should also be implemented against those individuals who try to break the implemented policies.
Opioid addiction has been an issue of concern in the united states particularly among the youth and the adults suffering from various medical conditions such as injuries and chronic diseases. In Columbus, the epidemic of opioid addiction has had a huge effect on schools, churches and the city’s economy. Some of the key factors contributing to increased cases of opioid addiction in Columbus include: first, the increased rate of opioid pain prescriptions in Columbus healthcare facilities. Secondly increased sale of opioid prescription in pharmacies to individuals to people without any medical prescription. Thirdly increased sale of illegal street opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine, and fentanyl. However, there are various measures that should be put in place by the government to eliminate cases of opioid addiction. Some of these measures include Prevention and community education, Treatment, and support, Implementing strict government policies and Healthcare and risk reduction
Carlson, R. G., Nahhas, R. W., Martins, S. S., & Daniulaityte, R. (2016). Predictors of transition to heroin use among initially non-opioid dependent illicit pharmaceutical opioid users: A natural history study. Drug and alcohol dependence, 160, 127-134.
Daniulaityte, R., Falck, R. S., Wang, J., & Carlson, R. G. (2009). Illicit use of pharmaceutical opioids among young polydrug users in Ohio. Addictive Behaviors, 34(8), 649-653. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.03.037
Skolnick, P. (2018). The opioid epidemic: crisis and solutions. Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 58, 143-159. Retrieved from https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010617-052534
Volkow, N. D., Wang, G. J., Fowler, J. S., & Tomasi, D. (2012). Addiction circuitry in the human brain. Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 52, 321-336. Retrieved from https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010611-134625
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