Pain pill addiction; three words that disrupt the lives of people all across the country. What seems like a medicine to allow you to return a normal life can do the complete opposite. What happens when the pain you are trying to address becomes one the biggest problems you could have never imagined? Thousands of Ohioans are asking that right now.
The Start of an Epidemic
The opiate crisis has received a lot of attention recently, but unfortunately, this issue has been affecting thousands of people before it became a “hot topic”. Back in 2011, Governor John R. Kasich signed a law “to shut down “pill mill” pain clinics that fuel[ed] Ohio’s opiate crisis.”1 Whether patients were truly in pain or not, doctors across the state did not have the regulations that are being put into place now to prevent over prescribing pain pills. According to the National Prescription Audit in 2012, there were 96-143 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. This staggering amount may be because of doctors over prescribing the amount a patient really needed, or patients were hopping from one doctor to the next getting another prescription. For whatever reason(s) it was caused from, the numbers were too large to be ignored.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Problems in our communities cannot be ignored, including drug abuse and addiction. Local and state enforcement in Ohio are no stranger to being around heroin, pain pills, and other opioids. From 2011 to 2016, 269,708 prescription pills and 453 pounds of heroin were seized by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Not all of those people who were caught just decided one day that they wanted to do drugs. Some may have started off “innocently” with prescriptions. When that got too expensive or difficult to obtain, heroin was the easier or cheaper route to fulfill that void they were feeling. Unfortunately, so many people are too afraid to admit they have a problem or they don’t have a support system to help them overcome this downturn in their life. Because of this, they have little to no motivation to quit this dangerous habit.
Addressing the Issue
In 2016, “nearly one in five Ohio residents, a total of 2.3 million people, were prescribed opioids.”2 While some of this population was prescribed medicine for legitimate pain, some doctors were taking advantage of the situation. The State Medical Board of Ohio has been active in monitoring doctors and physician assistants to ensure that they were following laws and regulations. From 2011 to 2017, 273 medical licenses went through disciplinary action for violations related to prescribing drugs. Other preventative measures include an Rx reporting system that monitors prescriptions for each patient, a drug takeback program to get rid of unwanted medicines in a safe way, educating communities about the epidemic, and providing resources for those who suffer from addiction.
Beginning of Change
Through the prevention, education, and resources Ohio is providing, we can only hope that a positive change will happen soon. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has already seen prescriptions for opiates drop by at least 41 percent since 2010. While this is one piece of the puzzle, every piece is a step closer to overcoming this epidemic. If you or someone you know is battling with pain pill addiction, AppleGate Recovery has recently opened a new clinic in Huber Heights. Reach out today to start your road to recovery. 1http://mha.ohio.gov/Portals/0/assets/Initiatives/GCOAT/Combatting-the-Opiate-Crisis.pdf 2https://www.thefix.com/ohio-state-shaped-opioid-addiction