By Cassandra Sedler
Last week, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic in America a public health emergency.
The directive allows federal agencies to provide more money to fight the national crisis. Although no additional funding will be created, it is imperative for the problem of opioid addiction to receive attention from our society. It is a crisis plaguing people of all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Seventy-eight people die from opioid-related overdose each day in the U.S., according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, drug-related deaths from fentanyl increased by nearly 600% from 2014 to 2016.
These numbers continue to increase each year at alarming rates, while this issue can be combatted with an increase in supply of Narcan to emergency responders. Narcan, an FDA approved nasal spray, is an opioid antidote currently used by many emergency and medical personnel across the country. All responders should hold a supply of Narcan that meets the increase in emergency calls received regarding overdose and drug-related incidences. Early administration of Narcan is crucial in reversing the effects of an overdose.
So, its supply should not just be available to emergency responders.
Walgreens has recently stocked Narcan in more than 8,000 of its stores across 45 states, making the spray readily available to its pharmacy customers with no prescription required. Walgreens’ move to provide easy access to reversing the effects of overdose is essential in the effort to lower the amount of lives lost by opioid addiction. This initiative should be carried out by all related drug stores nationwide. The root of the opioid epidemic goes back to the medical profession, as many patients were excessively prescribed exceedingly strong, legal painkillers that leaves just about anyone susceptible to addiction.
As the price of legal opioids rises, heroin dominates the cause of overdose-related deaths.
Today, drugs like heroin continue to be laced with dangerous chemicals like fentanyl. This is done so that there are higher chances of buyers not knowing what they are actually using.
Declaring the opioid epidemic, a public health emergency is a push in the right direction in battling the multifaceted problem that affects the lives of almost every American in one way or another.
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