A recently concluded online poll by AL.com found out that a majority of the Alabamians consider heroin and prescription pills to be a major problem in the State. 83 percent of those polled admitted that the State was in the throes of a serious prescription pill abuse problem.
The findings from the polls confirmed the fears that rising addiction has and will continue to snatch young lives from untimely deaths. Additionally, the findings are indicative of the pervasive nature of opiate abuse in the State of Alabama.
The survey, though unscientific, offers valuable insight and data which can be used by state officials to inform their policies and strategies in fighting this problem. The results from the poll mirrors and confirms results from a previous study which was conducted by the CDC. In their study, the CDC found out that deaths from heroin overdose had almost quadrupled in a span of 10 years in the US.
This massive leap in the number of deaths from heroin overdose can be attributed to the over prescription of painkillers across the country. In another study, the CDC found that there was no correlation between increase in heroin overdose deaths and decrease in deaths from prescription opiates. In fact, the study found that increases in prescription painkiller overdose deaths were associated with increases in deaths from heroin use.
According to data released by CDC, Alabama tops the list of the States that write the most prescriptions of painkiller pills per person. In its fight against over prescribing, the state has instituted measures that include prosecuting unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists and creating public awareness campaigns aimed at dealing with opiate abuse.
The local, federal and state law enforcement agencies have instituted some stringent measures aimed at bringing an end to the State’s reliance on heroin and opiates. However, the addiction problem still persists. Of those polled, 71 percent said they had taken prescription painkillers at some point in their lives; 77 percent said they knew someone who was either addicted to these painkillers or was recovering from addiction; 58 percent reported that they knew someone (a close kin or friend) who had died after overdosing on heroin or painkillers; and 48 percent reported that someone they knew had shifted from painkillers addiction to heroin abuse.
The runaway addiction problems in Alabama cannot be overlooked. The State is in dire need of help to deal with the addiction problems. Authorities can institute measures restricting access to opiate medication. Although they are said to have instituted some stringent measures to deal with the heroin and opiate scourge, more still needs to be done.
Some additional measures that authorities can attempt include; creating public awareness on the dangers of opiate abuse and heroin use, training families with patients on prescription pain medication on how to identify symptoms of addiction and increase accessibility and availability of Naloxone, an emergency drug that prevents deaths from opiate or heroin overdoses.