Our opiate epidemic is a community problem requiring community solutions.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), 4 out of 5 heroin users first began with recreational use of prescription pain relievers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) cites that nearly 50 percent of young people who inject heroin started by abusing Rx drugs.
This data helps to illustrate that it is a slippery slope which begins with the abuse of prescription drugs and leads to heroin addiction. As a community, our weapons of choice are increased education, prevention and enhanced treatment in order to attack, and ultimately defeat this epidemic.
In Summit County, the impact is staggering:
- In 2013, 60 local families lost a loved one to an accidental overdose (SC Medical Examiner Office)
- In 2014, in Akron alone, EMS statistics show an average of 1 overdose per day.
- In our community, about every three days in 2014, a baby was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, meaning they were born addicted to opiates and suffer withdrawl in the first week of life..
- 15.6% of Summit County high school students reported using a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their life (2014 YRBS data)
You Can Help
Each of us can and must play a role in this fight. What can you do?
- Educate yourself
- Properly dispose of unwanted, outdated or unused prescription medications through access to D.U.M.P. sites or at Drug Take Back events
- Have the conversation at www.starttalkingohio.gov
- Ask prescriber about OTC option rather than prescription
- Store prescriptions in locked and secure locations
- Remember: There is hope and recovery is possible.
The Summit County Opiate Task Force has implemented several initiatives in fighting the opiate epidemic. See what the opiate task force has done with the prevention, education and community outreach to reduce opiate abuse in Summit County.