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Opiate fight not over

It was only just a few years ago that patients experiencing pain, no matter the duration, were given prescription pills to battle that pain, with little to no thought of the consequences of taking such drugs.

It wasn’t until people started dying that medical professionals and government leaders took notice of what is now called the opioid epidemic and the dispensing of pain pills like they were candy came to a stop.

Shutting down pill mills and placing more regulations on prescription pain pills made great strides in getting those drugs off the streets, but there is still a long way to go in Ohio’s fight against prescription drugs.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and the Ohio Department of Health recently revealed data that the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths increased from 84 in 2013 to 502 in 2014. Fentanyl is a more lethal opiate that is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

However, Ohio’s new initiatives to combat drug overdoses include an additional investment of $500,000 per year to purchase the lifesaving overdose antidote naloxone.

Strategies also include implementing prescribing guidelines, increase the crackdown on drug trafficking, more drug prevention talks and drug take-back opportunities and creating easier ways to create treatment and recovery programs.

The war on opiates is far from over in Ohio, but continuing to aggressively fight back has resulted in some successes. Let’s hope local and state leaders continue to make this a priority.