A group of residents of Utah have come together to hold a rally aimed at putting an end to prescription and opioid-based drug abuse in America. According to statistics, about 220,000 overdose-related deaths were reported between 1999 and 2014. Utah is ranked fifth highest in the number of opiate and prescription related overdose deaths per year.
Monday August 31st was the International day for Overdose Awareness. During this day, the Utah chapter of “Fed Up” had a meeting at the Utah State Capitol and deliberated on measures that need to be adopted to curtail the growing opioid and prescription drug overdose problem in the state.
The members present at the meeting found out that the US consists of only five percent of the total world population but over 80 percent of oxycodone and hydrocodone produced annually from all over the world is consumed in the US.
Sandra Kresser, the Chairperson of Utah’s Fed Up Committee decried the fact that the US had disintegrated into a country made up of people who were addicted to prescription pain medication. Her concern was largely caused by the fact that most of these prescription pain medications act as gateway drugs to heroin.
Oftentimes, people start using prescription pain medication to relieve pain that might have been caused by an accident or pain that is a symptom of some illnesses. Continuous use of these opiates creates a “feel-good” feeling and most of their users stay hooked on the drug long after the pain subside. Some of the users start abusing the drugs by crushing them and either dissolving them in water and use the drugs for intravenous injections or snort the powder.
In order to feed the addiction, many addicts look for the pills on the streets where they are sold alongside other hardcore drugs. The strict regulations surrounding the prescription and dispensing of prescription pain medication makes them both expensive and scarce on the streets. Over time, the addicts tolerance builds and they are forced to shift from using opiates to using heroin which is cheaper and more abundant on the streets. Within no time, these first time users of heroin become hooked on the drug with some ending up overdosing.
The high number of fatalities from opiates and heroin overdose has forced the CDC and the Federal Government to state that opiate and heroin use as the worst drug epidemic in the United States.
Fed Up plans to take its campaign to the nation’s capital where it hopes to create awareness of this runaway epidemic that threatens to tear the US apart. Accordingly, the next Fed Up annual rally is slated for October 3, 2015 in Washington DC. The Committee plans to push its agenda and gain support from residents in the nation’s capital.
In closing, the Fed Up Committee’s demand or request is simple. All they need to see is increased access to Naloxone, an opiate antagonist that has the capacity of reversing the fatal effects of an opiate overdose. This increased access will ensure that this nasal spray is placed in the hand of every first responder thereby saving lives that would have otherwise have been lost to opiate and heroin overdose.