The opioid epidemic has become one of the worst drug crises in the history of our nation. More people now die from overdose than die from car crashes, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, since 1999, the amount of prescription pain medications sold in the US has quadrupled – yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report. So how do we stop addiction before it begins?
WE ALL PLAY A ROLE:
The first step is to understand addiction:
Addiction, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. Addiction is not simply bad moral behavior or a lack of willpower, and failing to realize the complex biological and psychological components of addiction can be a barrier to understanding, effectively treating and preventing the condition.
Then take action to minimize first exposure (especially in teens and young adults) and unnecessary use of opioid medications::
- CONSUMERS – choose non-opioid pain relief, educate your family, dispose of medications properly
- PRESCRIBERS – reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written, prescribe fewer doses per prescription, educate yesour patients about risks and naloxone
- LEGISLATORS – boldly work to address the way current laws perpetuate the opioid epidemic
Centerpoint, a member of Drug Free Hall, has many resources for talking with your child about alcohol and other drugs. From conversation starters to materials designed specifically for teens and young adults, visit the prevention page of the Centerpoint web site.