With federal data compiled by The Washington Post, today’s front page story paints an astounding picture of the opioid crisis across Sand Mountain.
More than 128 million prescription pain pills were received between Marshall, Etowah and DeKalb counties from 2006 to 2012. In each respective county, that was enough to supply 77, 55 and 75 pills per person, per year.
It isn’t just a local problem. In the same seven year span, 76 billion pills were shipped in the U.S., and nearly 144,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses.
More than 2,000 counties across the country have joined in a lawsuit against drug companies, and there are other things currently being done to fight the issue as well.
In January, the Alabama State Department of Education announced the drug Naloxone, which reverses an overdose, would be made available in all public high schools that want to participate. Staff members would be trained to administer the drug through an auto-injector.
Outside the Box Healthcare, a local clinic in Boaz, now offers a detox therapy program that doesn’t use opioids to fight other addictions.
More is being done, but is that enough? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 Americans die from opioid overdose every day – how quickly can we see results?
To reiterate Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s comments on the national report: “It took years to create this crisis, and it will take years to recover from it.”
No matter your race, religion, political affiliation or financial standing, there’s no debating if opioid abuse is a real problem, and it’s going to take everyone working together to solve it.
Our View On the Issue is an opinion of The Reporter’s editorial board that includes Publisher Kim Patterson and Managing Editor Taylor Beck.