The Opioid Crisis – a Health Perspective  

Repeated drug and alcohol use changes brain chemistry, creates compulsions that cannot be controlled, and increases the risk of mental illness. Opioid Use Disorder is not confined to street drugs like heroin. It is possible that people who take prescription meds containing opioids, like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet for pain may experience physical dependence and/or addiction.

As with other chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes, drug and alcohol addiction can be managed effectively. Remission and recovery are possible and can be sustained long-term. There are more than 23.5 million people in recovery in the U.S. What can you do?

  • If you have questions, seek the help of the MARS Ministry or Sarah or Emily.
  • Signs and symptoms of misuse are: giving up past activities, aggressiveness and irritability, disappearing money or valuables, feeling hopeless, depressed or suicidal.
  • Keep your medications out of reach.
  • Dispose unused prescription meds at disposal sites like the Southdale Library.
  • When receiving pain medications, especially if you are in recovery from addiction, tell your provider that you want to stop as soon as possible. Ask about alternative treatments.
  • Never use alcohol with sleeping medications, tranquilizers or opioid pain medications.

175 people die of opioid overdose every day in the U.S. This is more deaths than at the height of the AIDS epidemic. If you are concerned about another person, talk to them when they are sober and you are calm. Then, without blame, stand beside the person as they work to move beyond their addiction.

—Susan Lampe, R.N., Janet Tripp, R.N.