Federal Government Aid with the Opioid Epidemic

Federal Government Aid with the Opioid Epidemic

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The opioid epidemic has been and continues to be detrimental to our citizen's and nation's health, stability, welfare, and economy. While many factors go into the formation of the opioid epidemic including but not limited to, mental health, doctors prescriptions, drug dealers, addiction, lack of education, societal acceptances, and laws, we need more beneficial ways of controlling the medications and addictions. To start, opioid addiction is not a new issue, however with an increase in opioid prescriptions and availability to the medications it has increased addictions and overdoses in recent years. From January 2017 to August 2018 the amount of opioids that have been prescribed to the public has dropped by 21%. This is very beneficial start to the solution of this issue, however there is still a long way to go and more governmental action must take place. On average, for every 1,000 people 731.2 people are prescribed opioids in the United States. 


While treating overdoses is vital to ensure the life of an individual that is over dosing, the most effective way to save that life is to not over dose at all. The education about the harm and effects of opioids to the human body is essential to our citizens and communities, but definitely to any person who is prescribed an opioid to aid with pain. According to a nationwide survey put out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration over 11 million people misused opioid medications in 2016. Since the 1990's there has been a gradual increase in the amount of opioids that have been prescribed. Along with this, there has also been an increase in the prescribed dosages and length of time that the medication must be taken for, according to the National Institute of Health. Due to this, the public must be properly educated on the harms of these medications. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has given $930 billion in state opioid response grants. These grants will be used for treatments, better medication that are not opioids, reducing overdoses, and treatment and recovery centers. This is a great start, however as a nation we do need to spend more money on treatment and recovery centers, the more recovered addicts that we have means more lives are saved. 


There have been steps taken to try and combat the overuse in opioids, but opioid abuse continues to be a problem. The Health and Human Services has chosen to donate 1 billion dollars in grants to combat the crisis. Even though this is incredibly helpful when it comes to fighting opioids, it is still not enough nor is it the main issue. A main issue is the over use of prescribing people medications that could use an alternative medication. When you get your wisdom teeth out the first thing you get after the operation is a prescribed amount of oxycodone, which is an opioid. With there being roughly 3.5 million wisdom teeth surgeries in the United States and most of these patience’s are getting prescriptions, statistics show that people who fill the opioid prescription are nearly three times as likely to keep using them. In the past 15 years alone communities have been impacted by the overuse and overdoses of opioids. “According the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, over 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids, nearly 1 million used heroin, and 2.1 million had an opioid use disorder due to prescription opioids or heroin. Which is why the government needs to regulate and limit the distribution of the opioids, because this is the main issue. The federal government needs to allow Narcan to be sold in all pharmacies without a prescription.


The federal government should be involved in allowing all 50 states to sell Narcan, a drug that is administered to revive a person involved in an overdose. Currently 46 states sell Narcan in pharmacies however you must have a prescription to legally purchase them. By changing these regulations thousands of lives would be saved, instead of waiting for first responders with Narcan to arrive to the scene, someone nearby could have Narcan on them and administer it immediately. According to Opioids.gov overdosing on opioids is now the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. In 2016, 63,632 people died from an opioid overdose, while 38,748 people died from a car accident. It is possible that with new legislation, thousands of those lives would have been saved if Narcan were readily available. 

Above information was collected from the following websites:

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2018/09/19/hhs-awards-over-1-billion-combat-opioid-crisis.html

https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/testimony-federal-response-opioid-crisis

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/sites/default/files/Federal%20Recommendations_Opioid%20Epidemic.pdf

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2017/federal-response-to-opioid-crisis

https://www.opioids.gov

https://www.ed.gov/opioids

 

 

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