Mike Roberson: “We have heroin here, but it’s not to the extent it could be if we don’t get on this issue. This is a cascade of problems that we’re looking to solve.”
Community Assessment: 17% of Chatham high schoolers reported “ever taking prescription pain medicine without a doctor’s prescription or differently than how a doctor told them to use it in 2017, up from 11% in 2014.”
Pair of parents going out and talking to schools and groups about their sons - great story, great activism.
30-plus % of overdoses involving opioids also involved Benzes. Biggest concern for Chatham County Schools.
School district official: “A lot of kids are hearing about Xanax from TV shows, commercials. But it’s been overshadowed by the opioid epidemic. Withdrawal from benzoes is actually more dangerous.”
What To Do
Officials: Education and awareness the best first step.
Educate yourself. Read the series in the Chatham News + Record (shameless self-plug) and listen to those who have been there and those who are helping.
Consider the medicine you’re taking and be smart. Dispose of medicines that you’re not using so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Law enforcement offices have drop-off boxes.
Kill the stigma. Health Director Layton Long said, “It’s people that you go to church with, people that you work with. Good people get in circumstances that get out of control. It’s not a moral failing. It’s a disease.”
The Problem of Pain
Report from two doctors in the Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America journal called “The Psychology of Pain.” Report says the emotional response to pain uses the same neural centers as social rejection.
“Chronic opioid use, particularly in high doses, can produce a condition of enhanced pain sensitivity. Patients dependent on daily doses feel worse when the medication wears off, and closer to baseline levels of pain temporarily when they take it, even though the overall pain condition fails to improve. These patients may see opioids as necessary for survival.”
So fascinating to me because it’s not just a physical thing, but a psychological thing.
Mental health often paired with substance abuse. Something to watch.