As opiates make their way through every town in the United States, officials are trying everything they can to stop the abuse. New laws are being written to help curb the issue. One of these programs is the prescription drug monitoring program which prevents abusers from doctor shopping. It also helps the government keep a close eye on the prescribing practices of physicians. It is very easy for agencies to track the prescribing compared to the physicians peers and what are considered "normal" prescribing practices.
In my time helping people, I still can not believe the lack of information that is taught to the public about opiates. We all know that drugs are bad. The war on drugs campaign has been going strong for decades. With it's obvious failure, it is important to switch up the way we educate our youth. Society in general needs more information about drugs, especially opiates which are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Many people that I speak with admit that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into by trying prescription pills. There is a false comfort knowing that prescription painkillers may be in their parents medicine cabinets and that these drugs are legal substances. Everyone knows that heroin is a bad and very dangerous drug but the majority of heroin addicts started using prescription painkillers first. If you teach the dangers of prescription painkillers and really explain and show the effects of those drugs, it can have a direct effect on heroin overdoses.
It is no secret that prescription painkillers are the gateway drug to heroin. You can open up any newspaper in the United States and you will read something about heroin. It is at epidemic levels but far too much time is being spent on heroin and not enough time on the root of the problem. If educators taught what prescription painkillers do to your brain and emotions by showing real people who have lived through the horror, maybe that would make a better dent in usage. I have personally spoken with people that got addicted to prescription painkillers and had no idea that they were even addicting in the first place. They had no idea why they were feeling sick after stopping their use abruptly. The fact that active users did not know what withdrawals were and had to research their symptoms shows that although there is no shortage of education on heroin, prescription painkillers are lacking the education they need.
The state of Ohio, which has been a leader in the fight against opiate addiction, recently mandated schools to educate children about the risks involved with prescription painkillers. The law, signed by Gov. John Kasich last month, calls on the Governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team to suggest lessons to the state Education Department by July 1. Prescription painkillers are considered a gateway drug to heroin abuse. The lawmakers who testified in support of the bill noted that additional education is critical, as some students may have already taken prescription painkillers following surgery or a sports injury. Nationwide, one in five high school students have used prescription opiates without a prescription. This is a scary statistic because it's only getting worse.