Stopping opioid addiction before it starts

CDC: Doctors wrote 259M prescriptions for strong painkillers in 2012

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Opioid addiction is on the rise, and western Massachusetts communities are hoping to put a stop to it.

Gerda Maissel of the Baystate Franklin Medical Center told 22News, “The government, from the community agencies, from the hospital, from education, from police, from the courts; all of these different groups have all come together from across the community to help with this very difficult problem.”

Thursday night, the Opioid Education and Awareness Task Force, along with Dr. Ruth Potee, explained safe prescription practices to a room packed with local doctors and prescribers.

According to the Opioid Task Force coordinator, Marissa Hebble, “Often times people think that because it’s been prescribed by a doctor that it’s safe. It’s not safe to share; it’s not safe to take it for longer than you’ve been prescribed. Those kinds of things put themselves at risk, but it puts the community at risk.”

Hebble said one of the biggest factors in the opioid crisis is over prescription. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for strong, potentially addictive, painkillers in 2012.

The Task Force said if a doctor does prescribe you opioids keep them locked up. 71% of people who have prescription opioids say they got them from a family member or a friend.

The Director of Health and Services with Northampton Public Schools, Karen Jarvis-Vance, said we’re seeing opioid addiction start at younger ages. She said the earlier you pick up a drug, the more likely you are to develop an addiction.

“After oral surgery or orthopedic surgery, those are two of the biggest times that we see adolescents prescribed opiates,” said Jarvis-Vance.She recommends parents monitor and manage their child’s medication, regardless of their age.

If you want to learn more about safe opioid prescription practices, or if you are looking for ways to get help, Click Here.

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