Know The Risks of Prescription #Opioids: #KnowTheRx

15 Jun

A few years ago, I knew next to nothing about opioids. In fact, the word “opioids” really didn’t connect any dots in my head.  I didn’t connect “opioids” to the rampant “pain medication” overdoses.  If you said “heroin,” I had a vague idea of the topic. Also, the word “heroin” conjured up many outdated and misinformed ideas from movies, and things I read long ago.

 

In the past couple years, all that changed. A young relative by marriage overdosed on heroin. High school kids whose parents and friends I knew overdosed on prescription pills. I saw the news stories on the tragedies of opioid overdoses, and related horror stories, growing more and more frequent.

[Already thinking of a tragic example of a friend, relative, coworker, or someone else who has shared a similar sad fate?  Then you are normal.  It’s either directly, or one level removed, impacted nearly everyone.  It’s everywhere.]

Turns out, whatever we thought we knew about opioid and heroin addiction was all wrong.

So I started getting involved in a few organizations aiming to help educate people about the dangers of opioids (heroin is only one form of opiate, and typically the last resort for addicts.)

Currently, I am passionately involved in a collaborative effort across nonprofits, media, government, healthcare, and private citizens in Cleveland: The educational #KnowTheRx campaign – KnowTheRx.org. Daily, I am all at once saddened and horrified, and also grateful and hopeful that so many people are trying to help curtail this crisis.

4 of 5 heroin addicts started with opioid prescriptions. #KnowTheRx

A few stats to consider (many more can be found @KnowTheRx and KnowTheRx.org):

  • 4 out of 5 heroin users started with prescription opioids

  • 80% of all prescribed opioids on the planet are consumed in the United States (the US has 322 million people out of 7.5 Billion people.)

The opioid crisis, and everything you see about overdoses and Narcan reviving addicts, is not as simple as it appears. Legal prescriptions — over short timeframes — have incredibly high rates of abuse and then addiction for many.

Some people take opioids for short timeframes or even for chronic pain without issues; however that is sadly not the outcome for a huge slice of the population.

The good news is, people are working together to help solve this crisis.  It starts by knowing the risks of a simple opioid prescription and asking questions. #KnowTheRx

Please learn and share more about this, and PLEASE ask questions before you, your kids, your parents, or anyone else you know simply takes an opioid prescription without first learning and knowing the risks.  There are alternatives.

Know the risks. #KnowTheRx KnowTheRx.org

(Photos courtesy of cleveland.com and the KnowTheRx campaign.)

Please share your comments insights and ideas below.

 

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