Like other parts of the United States, Kentucky is also in the grip of an opioid crisis. It is anticipated that as per the data for 2017, the year will prove to be yet another record-breaking one for the state in terms of drug overdose deaths. In 2016, more than 1,400 people had succumbed to opioid addiction. To deal with the epidemic, Governor Matt Bevin has set aside an amount of $34 million in his proposed budget.
However, according to authorities, this is not enough to deal with the situation. There is a need for the expansion of private-public partnerships for creating longstanding therapy centers focused on opioid addiction treatment, according to Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley. Tilley recently said that programs for six months or longer durations are more helpful than the short-term stays at the facilities approved by the third party providers. These long duration recovery programs should have a job-training component so that people in recovery are held accountable, he said. This will ultimately save lives and allow the people recovering from addiction to enter the society again, Tilley wrote in an article, saying that pilot programs which have used this type of setting have greatly benefited.
A major law passed in 2017 allows only three days of prescription opioids for the management of acute pain. Moreover, an awareness campaign — “Don’t Let Them Die” — was also launched, along with a website having the same name. Besides, more efforts are in progress to distribute narcan kits. The Bevin administration also received $10.3 million as the federal funds for the prophylaxis and management of the crisis.
In Kentucky, help is also being extended to those who are already suffering. There is a partnership between the Don’t Let Them Die campaign and Operation Unite through a helpline. The efforts have also been consolidated at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start FindHelpNowKy.org to connect people with treatment and counseling resources.
Opioid epidemic in America
The U.S. is in the midst of an awful opioid crisis, resulting in over half a million Americans dying from drug overdoses between 2000 and 2015. Abuse of prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Opana, Percocet, Vicodin, methadone, and morphine has destroyed a number of families, robbing the nation of unimaginable money, productive time and manpower. In 2016 alone, drug overdoses contributed to nearly 63,600 deaths, with opioids causing around 42,000 fatalities, suggested the CDC data.
The need of the hour is that health care professionals play a bigger role in reducing the abuse of prescription opioids by including extra evidence-based screening mechanisms in the consultation process. The good thing is that opioid addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. If a person is grappling with addiction to opioid painkillers, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed rehab center.
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