Solving Pennsylvania’s Opioid Epidemic

Updated on September 24, 2020

There is widespread news about the opioid epidemic worldwide, as it has become a controversial issue for journalists. It is an outbreak that is commonly known as the opioid crisis. It highlights the growing casualties and rehabilitation as a result of opioid consumption. Recently, there is an escalation in the mortality rates due to drug addiction. It is causing a lot of unprecedented demises. 

What are opioids?

This category of drug is a synthetic substance and derived from opium. One of these works as pain relief. The medical practitioners have substituted the effects of this pharmaceutical drug for high or low dosage. Recently, Opioids are the most commonly used pain-relieving drug.

Source and existence of Opioid epidemic

Many decades earlier, pharmacies were looking out for pain killers and began bringing about synthetic opioids to medical practitioners. These organizations suggested that opium had no harmful effects while some were non-addictive; they compared it to morphine and said that opioids did not have side-effects. The clinicians started prescribing these medicines to patients as they were not aware of the unfavorable outcomes. The excessive use of opium by practitioners in their prescriptions led to the drug’s untimely production due to the epidemic today. Dependency on opioids took over people after regular consumption of being prescribed by the doctor.  

These pain relievers were gripping and compelled people to yearn for it. Many patients became addicted to opium for normal functioning without acknowledging its side-effects. On trying to redress their addiction, they suffered from terrible withdrawal symptoms. The majority of people consuming opioid with prescription tends to become addicted to it.

Vulnerability to the opioid epidemic

The outbreak of opioid abuse affects people of all ages and in all state affairs such as teens, adults, students, doctors, or homemakers. Although some do not undertake opioids excessively, they are passively affected by it because their family members are vulnerable.

Common symptoms for addiction

• Excessive opioid consumption with lack of awareness

• Mood swings

• Insomnia and disturbed sleep

• Taking medication without a prescription

• Lack of decision-making

Once the symptoms that gotrecognized, as the ideal way to fight drug abuse is through therapy, medicines, and rehabilitation centers, all these must be in sync with psychological remedies such as counseling. Similar to meth addiction treatment, opioid addiction also requires a comprehensive treatment to ensure a lasting recovery.

Treatment options

An epidemic is like a wave, so everyone will have to come together to break away from it. Being aware of opioid abuse and acknowledging the perils of it can save lives. 

• Counseling – Counseling sessions help in removing the stigma of addiction. Both weak and healthy patients are susceptible to drug abuse, irrespective of their resistance power. 

• Rehabilitation centers-Health care providers and government heads have suggested sending the affected people to residential rehabilitation centers. Here, the doctors work to detoxify the patient, then tell them to abstain from drugs. You may keep them under strict vigilance to do so. Opioids cause intense cravings, which seem impossible for patients to resist. Thus, in some cases, the addiction relapses after the patient being released from the rehab and may get fatal. Long term drug rehabis an important facilitator to provide a holistic treatment along with de-addiction.

• Medication – Medication is another remedy to reduce opioid dependency. In case rehabilitation fails. In medicine based therapy, the patients have to consume other drugs to curb the addiction, while they are allowed to function normally. Buprenorphine is a commonly prescribed opioid antagonist and is used to treat addiction. It aids in the complete program of treatment.

• Changing people’s mindset: A majority of practitioners believe that the treatment of opioid abuse is challenging unless the people’s outlook changes. Most people under the influence of drugs give up and feel like a failure. They shun the idea of getting treated and hesitate to seek any help. It is vital to change people’s outlook regarding drug addicts and try to acknowledge them as normal human beings. It is high time for the community to be empathetic towards people with drug dependency and comprehend that addiction is a persistent disease that can relapse. Instead of calling them addicts, they should consider them as patients.

Break free from the cycle

Even under the effects of opioid abuse, new factors have emerged globally for taking remedial measures. It is vital to make people aware of the opioid crisis through education and access various treatment options, thus ensuring optimum support to opioid disorder patients. The opioid epidemic has seized all the communities. 

To obtain long-term benefits, people need to appreciate new ideas and understand the issue’s essence. The epidemic has clenched people from every stratum of life and has called for people’s unified attention. Both the state and the people need to work together to bring a change in this regard. 

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