Opioid Prescriptions Endanger Whole Familes
By Sandy Schroeder
We have all heard about the waves of opioid pain pill prescriptions that have hit one community after another. As more and more prescriptions were prescribed, the addiction numbers began to climb. In response, the medical community moved to reduce the prescriptions.
But now there are other consequences.
Health authorities say record numbers of opioid poisoning cases are turning up in hospitals as young kids mistake opioids for candy, and depressed teens take them for suicide attempts.
According to health sources, there are enough opioids out there to place a bottle of them in every home in the U.S.
From 1997 to 2012, the number of children hospitalized for opioid poisoning doubled, according to JAMA Pediatrics. In children, ages 1 to 4, the poisoning cases doubled. In teens, ages 15 to 19, the cases went up 176 percent.
How to Stop It
There are several checkpoints that can be used to stem this new opioid threat. Doctors can talk with their patients, to emphasize how important it is to safeguard their medications. Pediatricians can remind parents if they are using opioid prescriptions to handle them carefully. And all of us, including schools and other community agencies, can remind our families and our friends about this ongoing threat.
The Seriousness of the Threat
If you are not familiar with opioid prescriptions, the facts can be staggering. One medical source explained it, saying, "Opioids cause respiratory suppression. If you are a 30-pound person, taking a medication for a 150-pound person will be a whopping dose. It can be lethal."
In some cases opioids are prescribed for high school students. Figures show those prescriptions almost doubled between 1990 and 2,000. With the latest push by the medical and pharmacy community to shut down opioid prescriptions, these figures should drop.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a push to reduce the number of opioids in each prescription, helping to reduce leftover pills.
When opioid prescriptions began to make such big inroads in the health of our communities, the medical community designated chiropractic as “the conservative first choice,” for pain, ahead of doctors or surgery. As the natural drug-free approach to healthcare, chiropractic is a positive example of a better choice that we can all follow.
As authorities work to gain control of this situation, we can look around, talk to anyone who may need to be warned, and reach out to others, among our friends and neighbors.