Opioid Detox Needed to Address National Emergency.
The president has declared a national emergency in the US and opioid detox is going to be a priority. Some states have already declared emergency status.
Boston is in crisis.
Massachusetts has declared an emergency due to a high level of opioid use and overdoses in the Boston area and throughout the state.
Maryland has declared a crisis emergency situation.
In Maryland, there is a crisis all throughout the state. Particularly the Baltimore area has been hard hit by opioid use and overdoses. Opiates, such as heroin are to blame for many overdoses.
Virginia is also in crisis.
Virginia is another state that is suffering in this national epidemic. Hence, Virginia has declared a state of emergency as well.
Florida has declared emergency status due to opioid crisis
Florida was once known as the Pill Mill Capital due to unregulated pain clinics. In 2010, it became a requirement that pain clinics register with the state. In 2011, the state prescription drug monitoring program went online. Many agencies worked together to restore Florida’s reputation and end the pill mill crisis. Now, carfentanil and fentanyl laced heroin is to blame in many Florida overdose deaths.
Alaska and Arizona are other states that have declared emergencies.
The number of states in crisis due to opioid and opiate use disorders has continued to grow and includes these two states as well. So, it is certain that we will hear from more states declaring emergency status.
Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky have had significant problems relating to our nation’s opioid crisis.
Many cities and states are even suing drug companies that have flooded the US with dangerous prescription narcotics.
Are drug companies to blame?
Wealthy and powerful corporations have hijacked the medical education system and drug approval process. They convinced doctors that prescribing opioids to healthy patients in pain was not only safe but necessary. Doctors were told that to not treat pain could lead to discipline against their license.
Street drugs have turned deadly.
Now, the second chapter of this story has arrived with toxic, super-potent fentanyl and the 100x deadly carfentanil coming in from China and Mexico. These cheap and addicting substances are either added to heroin or used in place of heroin. Because of their extreme potency, these substances are leading to a wave of overdose and death across the US.
So, what is the solution to this epidemic?
Medical professionals and the families and loved ones do have a few weapons in the arsenal to fight this war against opioids and opiates. Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is a rescue drug that can reverse an overdose. You can purchase Narcan at many pharmacies without a prescription. So, while it will not save every overdosing drug addict, it will save lives.
We also have a wide range of treatment options available.
There are medical programs using methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Vivitrol is a monthly injectable form of naltrexone that can reduce cravings for opioids, opiates and alcohol. It also blocks opioid affects. Buprenorphine is the ingredient in Suboxone, Subutex and Zubsolv. These meds have a proven track record in saving lives by preventing relapse. They block sickness and cravings with minimal side effects.
Other solutions, such as opioid detox, exist as well.
There are a wide range of treatment options. There are inpatient opioid detox facilities. Residential rehab is the gold standard, but also quite effective are partial hospitalization (PHP), Intensive Outpatient (IOP) as well as other outpatient and sober living programs. Insurance companies must cover treatment. The Parity Act ensures that insurances must pay for addiction treatment as they would pay for any other form of healthcare.
The best long term solutions are free.
There are recovery fellowships that have meetings in nearly every city in the world to help alcoholics and drug addicts stay clean for life. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are the most widespread. Anyone who wants to be clean and sober can be a member and attend meetings. These groups are where recovering addicts can find a new way of life. Insurance coverage and cost are not issues here. These fellowships are free. Contributions, usually a dollar per meeting, are voluntary.
So, where should we spend our tax dollars?
All levels of medical treatment need financial support. Uninsured patients need access to detox and rehab. Insurance companies need to comply with the law and cover addiction treatment. The pharmaceutical industry needs to be looked at carefully.
Why do pharmacies charge so much money for life saving meds?
Our best meds are available as generics. Manufacturing them costs pennies, yet patients pay many dollars per dose. Why does a generic Subutex tablet cost $5 and up, yet an entire months supply of many generic drugs cost only $4? Narcan can cost over $100. Yet, this life-saving rescue drug should be free to families that need it in the house.
There is no easy solution.
Law enforcement must eliminate sources of deadly street drugs. We must carefully regulate prescription opioids. Hence, a national prescription monitoring database would be helpful. If all drugs, not just controlled drugs, were tracked, many problems could be prevented early. This must be done in such a way to protect patient privacy. And, more opioid detox solutions are needed.
National awareness is essential.
It is a good thing that the president has declared the opioid crisis to be a national emergency. Finally, we can all begin to work together to implement solutions and end this crisis that has emerged in our nation once and for all. Therefore, we must do all that can be done so we are not left feeling regret for more needless harm to our citizens.