SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – More than 150 people gathered Wednesday for a conference on the Opioid Crisis.
The event called “Opioid Crisis Next Door” included speakers addressing challenges to treating opioid abuse, the experience of people in treatment, Naloxone use, coalition-building and other matters.
“It’s about all of us coming together,” said Pat Schou, executive director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. “Coalitions shouldn’t just be healthy people or public health people or the coroner or police officers or legal. It’s about everybody together.”
National speaker psychiatrist Dr. Omar Manejwala described the opioid crisis as a “wicked problem”: lacking a definitive definition and a stopping rule that shows when a solution has been found.
CANANDAIGUA — People have been asking Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni about the opioid crisis, how serious of a problem it is and what parts of the community are primarily affected.
Narcan is a brand name for naloxone, a medication that almost instantly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, virtually saving people from the brink of death.
Lynn Seaward, director of community-based services at Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA), talked about various local programs available to help drug and alcohol addicts, including peer services where those recovering can relate to and help abusers find the best services for their individual situations.
FLACRA also recently acquired a mobile crisis van that allows staff and peer counselors to go directly to people in crisis or overdosing. Staff also work with law enforcement and emergency personnel in rescuing people and educating families on the problems that lead to addiction and where to find help.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a national campaign to help fight the prescription opioid crisis in this country.
The campaign will use online advertising, billboards, newspapers and radio/TV ads to increase awareness about the risks of opioids.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to using evidence-based methods to communicate targeted messages about the opioid crisis and prevent addiction and misuse in every way we can,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D.
He added, “Prevention is a key piece of the five-point strategy HHS unveiled under the Trump Administration for combating this crisis, which has left no corner of America untouched.”
It’s hard to go a day in Canada without hearing about at least one of two types of drugs – but for vastly different reasons. One class of drug — opioids — kills four people a day in British Columbia. The other — cannabis — will be legal for adult purchase and consumption by this time next year.
The opioid overdose epidemic is Canada’s gravest public health crisis since the emergence of HIV in the 1980s. With its roots in the over-prescription of high-potency painkillers, sparked by the contamination of the illicit drug supply with fentanyl and related drugs, the crisis has reached across demographic divides.
Could cannabis legalization be a part of this solution? Increasingly, this is what the latest scientific research indicates.
The opioid crisis is a product of the medical system’s over-reliance on opioids for pain relief. Almost one in five Canadians live with some form of chronic pain. Twenty years ago, pharmaceutical companies began to develop slow-release formulations of opioids (e.g. OxyContin) and marketed them as safe and effective medications for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.
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