Drug abuse and addiction is nothing to joke about; this a serious, heartbreaking illness that affects millions of people around the globe, including many American families. Government officials, advocates, and grieving families are taking a stand to fight for more resources, preventive measures, better treatments, and increased funding.
Encouraging change and education is the only way we can make it through this overwhelming struggle together. Believe it or not, at this point there is no state, region, city, or town left untouched by this horrible problem. From the hustle and bustle of the biggest metropolitan areas to the tiny rural communities where everybody knows each other, drug and alcohol abuse affects so many people.
In fact, an August 2017 PEW survey found that 46% of U.S. adults have at least one close friend or family member that has suffered from drug addiction. With so many people at risk and so many lives on the line, it’s crucial that we take steps to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to local resources for prevention and care.
A Leading Example
When it comes to recovery and rehabilitation, quality, long lasting change is key. People need to feel that treatment options and emergency services are within reach. In too many sad cases, users and their friends or family don’t call for help until it’s too late. They are concerned about legal troubles and the shame and stigma that has long been associated with drug use.
As the United States federal government aims to make a difference nationwide, state leaders are also doing their part to overhaul the plan for drug addiction care and prevention. This is so important, especially considering how many people perished from drug overdoses in 2016. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that number reached a level more than five times what it was less than 20 years ago, in 1999.
Luckily, one U.S. state is working toward making a difference that will really count. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that there were 42,249 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 alone. This prompted leaders in Delaware to set their sights on a more comprehensive care system that could change the name of the game in drug overdose care.
Delaware has seen its share of drug devastation, with a 40% increase in drug overdose deaths in from 2015 to 2016. To combat these alarming changes, local resources in Delaware are adapting and improving, especially when it comes to methadone treatment.
Methadone is a somewhat controversial treatment method, but it has been proven to help thousands of former addicts on their path to recovery over the years. Methadone is a long-acting opioid that can be used to wean users off short-acting opioids like heroin or certain prescription drugs.
As they are going through the detox process, doctors and a team of trusted medical professionals give them a carefully measured dose of methadone, which keeps the horrible withdrawal side effects to a minimum while satisfying the body’s need and craving for opiates.
Unlike other drugs, methadone doesn’t yield the same intense rush and high like heroin, so people are less likely to become addicted to it. That being said, people definitely can develop a dependence on methadone if they are not closely monitored by a team of healthcare experts with their best interests at heart.
A Life-saving New Bill
Officials in Delaware want to open the doors for immediate overdose attention and life-saving medical care, including prompt administration of Naloxone and further treatment and rehabilitation down the road, such as methadone treatment. This is huge, considering that prompt emergency assistance can save lives.
The reports that Delaware is on track to become the first state in the country to create a statewide system for overdose medical care is promising. Due to the state’s size and population, officials say it’s a logical and real possibility that Delaware could end up with a cutting-edge model for the other 49 states to follow.
The state’s Governor John Carney is expected to sign a bill allowing for the establishment of a statewide system of care facilities and procedures for patients who have overdosed on drugs. The goal is for patients to receive the same level of attention and care, no matter where they are in the state.
Delaware Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay, is dedicated to taking advantage of modern advancements and setting a new precedent in drug overdose healthcare, with the help of a driven committee. They have big plans to get started as soon as the bill is passed.
Rattay said. “I do believe that we will be setting a blueprint for many other states. I mean, all states have a trauma system of care in place. This is a model that all states have embraced for other areas.”
A Better Future
It’s great to know that states like Delaware are focusing on this epidemic that transcends every sector of society. Drug addiction is a downward spiral that can feel endless and suffocating. It’s like a nightmare you just can’t wake up from. It’s not like you can snap your fingers and magically break free of an addiction that controls nearly every facet of your life.
Although society as a whole has been getting better about understanding addiction and helping rather than harming addicts, there is still a significant amount of ground left to cover. We have to remember that addiction is a terrible, life-sucking illness that takes away from physical, mental, and emotional health.
Addiction can steal your family, friends, career, and future prospects in the blink of an eye. Rather than turning a blind eye to drug users and heavy drinkers, maybe we should take the time to think about why they’re making these choices. This is certainly part of the approach that officials in Delaware are taking, and perhaps soon other states will follow suit.