Everyone was in shock in December 2014 when nurses in San Luis Valley, Southwestern Colorado, helped four mothers to deliver babies that already tested positive to opiates. These are drugs that had been passed down to them by their mothers meaning that there was nothing that the babies could do to avoid it. The neonatal abstinence syndrome often leas such babies into withdrawal just on their first day on life. It is an unfortunate thing to happen to any newborn considering that they are just starting their lives and they have the whole world to live for unlike their parents who are already hooked on opiates.
Although all the shock and focus might be on the lives of the babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, it also is a clear manifestation of the prevalence of drug abuse in this area. Considering the fact that this is a rural agricultural area with a relatively low population, one would not expect that there would be such statistics coming out of it. Most people believe that opioids are only prevalent among the urban youths. According to the health ministry in Colorado, the number of deaths results from opiates addiction has more than doubled over the past years and so, there is need for urgent measures to be taken so as to contain the situation.
One of the worrying trends is that just like in San Louis Valley; the prescription pain killer problem is now too common in the West. There are more than 200 counties that currently lead in the statistics about the number of overdose deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is baffling that just a year ago, only one county from the region was on the list. These revelations have led to consultations among the stake holders as they seek a solution to the epidemic. What is troubling is that even when they come up with a solution that looks perfect, there always are new challenges that they have to face and so, they have to go back to the drawing board again.
The fallout from the rise is something that families, drug users, and health care providers are grappling with. with a lot of babies being delivered with opioids in a short span, an array of inventions have been implemented by the SLVAHEC as well as the local leaders targeting a reduction in opioid abuse. Among the notable recommendations are the requirements to change the way law enforcement addresses the abuse epidemic, and how pain pills are prescribed. The end result should be a new approach that will go against some of the norms that have been making it difficult to get rid of the addiction problem from the communities around the West and the entire country.
Various meetings have been organized so as to discuss how to limit the supply of opioids in this area. One of the steps that were agreed on was to standardize prescription practices across the San Louis Valley so as to create an easier approach to the fight against the addiction epidemic.