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The Opioid Crisis

In March 2018 our Parent Club, the National Federation of Republican Women, adopted a resolution to support actions by President Trump and Congress to Combat the Opioid Crisis.

Below are some facts about the Opioid crisis that you may or may not know.

- Opioids are a class of drugs that include legally prescribed drugs such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. They also in include illegal drugs such as heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In 2015, the quantity of opioids prescribed in the United States was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.

- More than 63,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control, surpassing traffic fatalities as the leading cause of death in the United States. In Oklahoma, 11.6 out of 100,000 deaths in 2016 were from opioids. More than 115 people die in the U.S. every day from opioids.

- Deaths from opioids have quadrupled since 1999 - an increase so large that it now affects the average U.S. life expectancy.

- The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. Opioid dependence can happen after just 5 days.

Most people assume that the crisis only involves heroin and other drugs used by "addicts". However that is not always the case. Anyone that has had major surgery or an accident and has been prescribed pain medication may be taking opioids.

My personal experience was from watching someone I knew who underwent back surgery. They were on opioids for pain relief during surgery recovery. They were highly aware of the addictive nature of the drug and purposely got off the drug within 2 months. Even in that short amount of time, there were withdrawal symptoms for a couple of weeks.

An especially scary part of all this, is that some people may not even know they’re taking an opioid. Fentanyl is starting to turn up in counterfeit pills like Xanax - a pill used for anxiety. For someone with little or no tolerance to opioids, a tiny amount can kill, something like what would come out of one shake of salt.

Please watch these videos to see other's stories about the opioid crisis and learn the signs of Opioid addiction.

Be aware. Know the signs. If you know someone having trouble with opioids, get a prescription of Naloxone for them or get Narcan - which is available at most pharmacies for emergency administration. You might just save their life.

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