The opiate epidemic has grown to a point where it is in every newspaper daily. The problem causes more deaths than car accidents every year and is changing the way we look at prescription medications forever. Why has there been such an incredible amount of pressure put on these medications? Because they have been over-prescribed for over a decade. The effects of the over-prescribing of these drugs is still having massive effects on the lives of Americans.
It is common for America's youth to know someone under the age of 18 that is addicted to either prescription painkillers or heroin. This was not a normal occurrence just 15 years ago. These drug have made there way into the mainstream and are prescribed for injuries that should never receive these medications. But the push to stop the over-prescribing of these drugs has been in full force for a couple of years and many politicians are doing there part to take control of the outrageous epidemic.
The Obama Administration held a press conference today to discuss the opiate epidemic and how we can slow the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin. The administration has high hopes to double the amount of doctors who are allowed to prescribe the opiate maintenance drug buprenorphine from 30,000 to 60,000. More than 40 medical provider groups have committed to training more than half a million doctors, dentists and others on the safe prescription practices for opiates.
The president sat among others during a discussion that included questions from the audience in attendance. Much of the forum was influenced by the notion that drug abuse should be treated as an illness and not as a crime. The war of drugs has proven to be a major failure and instead of throwing people in jail who are addicted to drugs and ruining their lives, providing them with treatment and allowing them a chance to recover and be active members in society will far outweigh the benefits for those people and the taxpayers who are paying for inmates who are in jail for non-violent drug crimes for 5, 10, 15 and sometimes life sentences. The amount of money that taxpayers are paying to house these people could have been saved if we just provided treatment instead of jail.
"This is such an epidemic. you cannot arrest your way out of this mess,” said Chief Brent Webster who has served in the City of Charleston Police Department for 20 years.
The Obama Administration has proposed a $133 million in new spending to curb the over-prescribing of opiates, increase the amount of overdose data collected and expand on the access of Naloxone to the general public.