Helping Curb The Opioid Epidemic

Posted: Updated:

It's no secret that prescription drug abuse has turned into an epidemic throughout the U.S. Everyday, more than 115 people die from overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the total economic burden of prescription misuse in the U.S. to be at $78.5 billion a year, which includes health care costs, treatment and criminal justice involvement.

CareSource, a nonprofit health plan, is among those working to curb these numbers, especially in the Midwest. The Midwest has been affected most by the epidemic, with overdoses surging by 70 percent, according to the CDC.

Knowing the best steps to take in dealing with substance use disorders is important. Steve Smitherman, President of CareSource in Indiana, offers the following tips for supporting someone with a substance use disorder.

1. Educate yourself on substance use disorders.

Taking time to educate yourself on the facts surrounding substance use disorder can be an effective way to help someone through the recovery process. Education is key - find the best resources available and where to access treatment. One helpful resource is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, which contains information about substance abuse, treatment types, treatment locators and more.

2. Seek medication assisted treatment.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the top treatment option for opioid abuse disorder (OUD) and is considered the gold standard in addiction care. MAT combines behavioral therapy and counseling with medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that provide a holistic or whole-patient approach to dependency. The treatment, regulated by a doctor, allows those with OUD to reduce their cravings and dependency quickly to begin their recovery.

3. Recognize that detoxification is not treatment.

Detoxification is a set of interventions that aim at clearing toxins from the body and managing the physical harm of withdrawing from opioids or other substances.  Detoxification by itself is not treatment.  It is a means to get to treatment and should only be considered if plans for ongoing treatment are established. In fact, due to the high tolerance levels of opioids and rapid withdrawal, detoxification without follow-up treatment can increase the risk an overdose.

4. Try turning to technology.

There are many great mobile apps available to support the recovery process, like the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meeting Search app. This app shows you the closest NA meetings and support groups by area code as well as in your vicinity using your device’s GPS location. Any app used during recovery should be used in conjunction with treatment.

5. Get a Narcan kit.

When an opioid overdose occurs, breathing stops. That’s where the drug naloxone, or Narcan, can help. Narcan is the FDA-approved medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in the case of an overdose.

A recent, statewide study of emergency naloxone doses in Massachusetts found that when given Narcan, 93 percent of people survived their overdose. Narcan kits are easy to use and easy to obtain from any pharmacist. CareSource was one of the first insurance companies to cover Narcan kits for members.

6. Realize that recovery is possible.

Treatment works. While it is a long-term process, recovery from substance use disorders is possible. Substance use disorders are like all chronic conditions and often require repeated episodes of treatment and ongoing maintenance. With evidence-based, medication assisted treatment, behavioral health interventions and recovery support, those who suffer from addiction can improve their health and wellbeing.

  • Perspectives

    • What’s Your Biggest Waste of Money?

      Americans are in the age of reducing waste. There’s a big push to purchase sustainable products, reduce our usage of plastics, and recycle. But has this trend carried over to our personal finances?  Not really.  In a study by The Ascent, the financial expertise arm of The Motley Fool, more than 60 percent of respondents felt they have wasteful financial tendencies. Why is that?

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (IIB Photo/Joe Ulery)

      Neighborhood Concerned About Old GM Site, Too

      As the city of Indianapolis and Ambrose Property Group squabble about the future of the old GM Stamping plant site in downtown Indy, a fight that could end up in court, residents who live near the property are weighing in with their concerns. Jay Napoleon, president of The Valley Neighborhood Association, says it’s important the mixed-use vision for the property remain intact. Napoleon and Ambrose Property Group Vice President Mali Simone Jeffers talked about the future of...

    • Hoosiers to be Honored in Chicago

      The Indiana Society of Chicago is set to honor what it calls some of the most consequential Hoosiers in Indiana history. The organization in December will hold its annual dinner, which is designed "to recognize and celebrate exceptional Hoosier individuals and institutions that are making outstanding contributions to the state and nation."

    • The IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering will now be named for Fred Luddy for his $60M gift. (photo courtesy James Brosher/IU)

      $60M Gift to Fund AI Center

      An Indiana University alumnus who founded the information technology firm, ServiceNow, has given his alma mater $60 million to establish an artificial intelligence center. The university says the gift from cloud-computing pioneer Fred Luddy is the second largest in the history of the IU.

    • What’s Your Biggest Waste of Money?

      Americans are in the age of reducing waste. There’s a big push to purchase sustainable products, reduce our usage of plastics, and recycle. But has this trend carried over to our personal finances?  Not really.  In a study by The Ascent, the financial expertise arm of The Motley Fool, more than 60 percent of respondents felt they have wasteful financial tendencies. Why is that?

    • The multi-year road project stretched from Bloomington to Indianapolis.

      INDOT to Update I-69 Extension

      The Indiana Department of Transportation has scheduled three public meetings for next week to update the community on the I-69 Section 6 road project.    Section 6 is an approximately $1.5 billion new interstate project stretching from Martinsville to I-465 in Indianapolis.