People fail to understand opioid epidemic is community problem, says US General Surgeon
“Less than a quarter people feel it’s an emergency in their community,” said U.S. General Surgeon Dr Jerome Adams while talking about the opioid epidemic during a panel discussion at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). Dr. Adams said that opioid abuse occurs at the national level, but only a few Americans consider it as an emergency at the local level. Therefore, in order to save more lives, he advised everyone to carry opioid-reversal drug naloxone all the time so that it could be used as and when required in the community.
Supporting his idea, Gov. Phil Bryant, also present at the forum, said that around 43 people in the past nine months had been saved by the Mississippi law enforcement officers by using naloxone. He also revealed that the drug was presently carried by the highway patrol troopers and the agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
Further, Dr. Adams strongly emphasized the need for destigmatizing addiction. He also highlighted the need for forming partnerships among communities so that everyone was on the same page and worked toward curbing the opioid epidemic. “Better Health through Better Partnerships. That’s what good health care is all about,” he said.
Dr. Adams, in addition to the Gov. Bryant, was also joined by Dr. Mary Currier, a state health officer, Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher and the Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force Dr. Randy Easterling, also a longtime addiction medicine practitioner.
Mississippi showing signs of improvement
Talking about the status of the epidemic in Mississippi, Gov. Bryant said that the state was showing signs of improvement. Acclaiming the state’s success, Easterling said that Mississippi’s epidemic had forced the health care community to re-look at the way chronic pain was treated. Crediting the stringent guidelines issued by the state Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Licensure Board, Easterling said that the rate of prescribing opioids had gone down by about 12 percent in the past few years.
To further tackle the problem, Easterling said that it was important to get pain management clinics registered and strengthen the state’s prescription monitoring program. The system would mandate physicians to prescribe the lowest dose of opioids for acute pain for no longer than 10 days. Currier said that the health department was collecting relevant data in collaboration with the UMMC and the Department of Mental Health so that the overall health of Mississippians could be improved.
Need to address opioid epidemic
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid crisis as a public health emergency when it was found that around 115 people lost their lives each day due to opioid-related overdoses. During the same year, opioid overdose accounted for over 173 deaths (67.6 percent) of all reported overdose deaths in Mississippi alone.
The need of the hour is to limit the availability of opioids and take necessary steps that may help in better monitoring their dispersal. Spreading awareness about the dangers associated with their abuse can also discourage people from abusing opioids.
Still, in case someone gets addicted to these drugs, it is important to seek help from an opioid rehab center that follows a 12-step approach to addiction recovery. Contact the experts at the Recover Mental Health to get in touch with an addiction help center offering treatment for opioid addiction. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 593-2339 or chat online with our representative to know the complete details about affordable addiction treatment centers near you to attain complete and lasting sobriety.