6 Ways to Reducing the Opioid Abuse Epidemic

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Opioid abuse is a national crisis that has physicians, government agencies and others looking for solutions. In fact, it’s a complex public health issue that requires more than a single simple solution. Here are six possible approaches to reducing the opioid epidemic.

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<p style="clear:both;margin-bottom:20px;"><a href="https://mphdegree.arizona.edu/blog/6-ways-to-reducing-the-opioid-abuse-epidemic/"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/utep-uploads/wp-content/uploads/arizona/2018/10/19143632/Opioid-Abuse-Infographic-compressor.jpg" alt="" style="max-width:100%;" /></a></p><p style="clear:both;margin-bottom:20px;"><a href="https://mphdegree.arizona.edu" target="_blank">The University of Arizona </a></p>

1. Increase access to Naloxone – The medication has been found to block the sometimes fatal respiratory suppression that is caused by opioids. A CDC survey found Naloxone administered by non-medical professionals reversed more than 26,000 overdoses from 1996 to 2014. The CDC noted that there were more than 16,000 prescription opioid deaths and roughly 8,000 heroin deaths in 2013, which could theoretically have been prevented by Naloxone.

2. Reduce over-prescription- Authorities and public health professionals should identify and cite doctors and others who over-prescribe opioids. State prescription drug databases can help find sources of over-prescription. Currently, more media outlets are reporting instances of over-prescription, and the first physician was convicted of murder for over-prescription in 2015, both of which can help raise awareness to the issue.

3. Reinforce medical guidelines – By stressing existing medical guidelines regarding chronic pain treatment and opioid prescription, policymakers can improve the quality of care.

4. Increase drug treatment program availability – The number of people diagnosed with opioid disorders rose 493% from 2010 to 2016, while people receiving medication-assisted treatment grew only 65%. Increasing access to drug treatment programs could cut abuse, through facilities’ varied treatment plans, structured living arrangements and in-house counselors.

5. Use media to spread the word – By employing traditional media – TV and radio – as well as social media, the public can easily access information on over-prescriptions, drug abuse prevention and treatment.

6. Make drug screening part of standard treatment – As a regular part of primary care, drug screening can identify problems before addiction takes over. Physicians can follow the SBIRT method – screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment.

The University of Arizona’s Master of Public Health online can provide you with the advanced knowledge to lead and fight against opioid abuse as well as other community health issues. The Master’s degree helps graduates reach their goals of influencing public health policy and promoting healthy behaviors globally and locally. Find out more at https://mphdegree.arizona.edu/.


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