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How Are Current Government Strategies for Controlling Opioid Abuse Working?

Published on Oct 25, 2018 at 1:11 pm in Opioid Litigation.

Addiction is a scary and serious thing that can ruin lives or end them. But most people got opioids from legal prescriptions. Without the proper education, they may have taken these drugs and not known about the high risk for developing a dependency. That’s progressed to people having an addiction to these drugs and needing to find more. If you’ve been harmed by opioid abuse, you may have grounds for a claim.

What Factors Led to the Crisis?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 80 percent of heroin users misused prescription opioids before using heroin. Opioid drug overdoses kill about 116 people a day. With frightening numbers like these, one has to wonder how the problem got to this point.

There are many factors that have contributed to the country’s current opioid epidemic. Doctors prescribed opioid drugs more feely in the past to treat pain. But they didn’t have all the information about the risk of prescribing these highly addictive drugs. Patients developed addictions and had to seek to alternatives to feed their addiction when the prescription ran out.

Treating the addiction issue has its own issues. Those who are addicted need personally focused treatment that’s evidence-based. Many people with an opioid addiction may not seek treatment or have the opportunity to do so, while those that do seek treatment aren’t getting the best quality care that will help them maintain sobriety.

What Is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Plan?

Health and Human Services is responding to this crisis with a plan that targets several areas of the opioid issue. These methods will help those who are currently addicted and works to prevent or reduce addiction and overdose in the future.

  • Addiction Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. The HHS will improve access to services to prevention, treatment, and recovery so those who are addicted can get the help they need.
  • Overdose-Reversing Drugs. High-risk areas can have access to overdose-reversing drugs. The HHS has to look into the availability of such drugs and how to distribute them, but these efforts could save someone’s life.
  • Public Health Data. With more accurate and prompt reporting, HHS can look at the timelines and trends of the data and act accordingly.
  • Research. Understanding addiction and pain can help develop more effective treatment plans and provide information for public health services to reduce the harm caused by opioids.
  • Pain Management. People need evidence-based care to help them recover. This will require research and a perspective of offering high quality care to the individual.

While tackling these parts of the opioid issue will help many, there may be difficulty with action from the federal level only. It’s important for state and local government to do what they can to help their communities as well.

How Is the West Virginia Helping People Who Are Addicted?

West Virginia has been hit hard in the opioid crisis. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services also has their own strategies for helping their state specifically. Their proposed plan from January 2018 includes the following:

  • Prevention. The focus is on stopping public health officials from inappropriately prescribing opioids.
  • Early Intervention. With education that addiction is treatable, access to treatment plans, and supporting harm reduction policies, they may be able to help more people get into recovery earlier.
  • Treatment. Individuals need treatment options and those in hospitals and the criminal justice system should have access.
  • Overdose Reversal. First responders will be trained how to use overdose-reversing drugs and report nonfatal overdoses to the Bureau of Public Health.
  • Supporting Families. The state needs programs that help families who have a recovering addict or a child born with an addiction.
  • Recovery. Those in recovery need support to help them get through this and stay clean.

These comprehensive plans to battle opioid addiction on all fronts may help bring the end of the epidemic and provide help to those that need it.

Opioid addiction can destroy lives. But if you or a loved one were prescribed opioid drugs without getting all the information or your health care provider inappropriately prescribed them, you can stand up for yourself. Call DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC today to set up a consultation where you can talk to us about your potential case.

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