HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The opioid epidemic has spread to nearly every city and town in the Commonwealth, and medical professionals are now collaborating with law enforcement to look for a solution.
Doctors and an increasing number of law enforcement officials agree that drug addition is not a crime, but rather an illness that can potentially led to crimes. Therefore, the best way to prevent overdoses is to prevent addiction in the first place.
Doctors, pharmacists, law enforcement agents, and district attorneys are sharing their practices and ideas at the Safe Prescribing and Opioid Abuse Conference at the Log Cabin in Holyoke Friday. They talked about the way that often, people first become addicted to prescription drugs, and then feed their opioid addiction with heroin and other cheap drugs they can easily buy on the streets.
“Most prescribers are very good prescribers, and are there to help people who suffer. Opiates are not the only solution to chronic pain. The problem is insurance companies are much happier to pay for a pill than they are to pay for other methods of treatment,” physician Dr. Ruth Potee said.
Potee also said there are other methods doctors can use to treat pain, like acupuncture, massage therapy, and physical therapy. She said there are not enough doctors able to treat or identify addiction in communities.