The Opioid Overdose Tragedy

MastHead Outline
June 28, 2018

Opioid overdose is a tragic thing that not only affects the individual, but their friends and family as well. The opioid epidemic is continuing to grow across the country and it does not discriminate. You may have an image in your mind of what a person who abuses opioids looks like, but that person can be anybody. A popular way to find this drug is not just in the bad part of town or on a street corner. It can be prescribed to you by your doctor if you are suffering from pain; and the Alaskan government has had enough.

What Are They Going to Do About It?

Pain medication can help people through times when over-the-counter meds aren’t enough to take the edge off. However, the reasons for prescribing and the amount of pills in one prescription has gotten out of hand. No longer are the days where these pills are reserved for surgeries or other extreme circumstances; they are being prescribed for ailments such as sprained ankles. The pain from a sprained ankle does not last as long as the amount of pills prescribed, and that is the problem they have.

The House has passed Bill 159 that “would cut the number of days’ supply of opioid pills in a single prescription. The vote in favor was 25-8.”1 This will help prevent abuse of the pills and taking them longer than necessary. “The bill also would require prescribers to receive continuing education in pain management and opioid misuse.” Education is key, and if doctors learn how bad the problem is, they can do their part to help stop the trend.

How Will This Help Overdosing?

Opioids can become very addictive if used over long periods of time. They can change the way the brain functions and perceives pain. The brain can build a tolerance and will require more of the medicine to get the same effect. If a patient takes more than what’s prescribed or needed, it can affect your brain and lead to addiction. When the tolerance builds up too high, or if someone is in recovery and they take a large dose all of a sudden, the risk for overdose greatly increases.

A Nationwide Problem

This problem is not just in Alaska; it is everywhere. For example, Louisiana has seen an increase in opioid overdoses over the years. In 2015, the rate increased by almost 12 percent. The highest percentage increase was in D.C. with 54 percent.2 This bill may not solve all the problems related to opioids, but it has the potential to save lives.

If you live in the Bossier City area, and you are worried you may have an addiction, AppleGate Recovery is here to help. They specialize in medication-assisted treatment and offer counseling services to give you the support system you need. Don’t wait to make the choice because your life may depend on it.