In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared an opioid epidemic within the United States. Since then, people across the country have continually abused prescription painkillers and heroin to the point where addictions have developed and lives have been lost. In some states, the opioid epidemic is even more prevalent than in other areas of the U.S.
In Ohio, the opioid epidemic is at an all-time high. In fact, it is one of the top five states where the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths exist. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there were 3,613 deaths related to opioids in the state during 2016. This shakes out to 32.9 deaths per 100,000 people, which is much more than the average national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people. NIDA reports the following statistics regarding opioids in Ohio:
- Healthcare providers wrote 9.96 million opioid prescriptions in Ohio in 2015
- By 2015, rates of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) had increased to 155 cases per 10,000 live births (comparatively, the national average in 2013 was 6 cases per 1,000 live births)
- Nearly 20,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in Ohio in 2014
- In 2010, approximately 119,000 people in Ohio had hepatitis C
In comparison to the rest of the United States, the opioid epidemic has been and continues to deeply affect those living in Ohio in extremely dangerous ways. As evidenced by the above-listed data, more people are developing blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis at an alarmingly shocking rate, as countless opioids can be abused through injection. Healthcare providers are continuing to prescribe many opioid-based prescriptions, increasing the availability of these dangerous substances. And even newborn babies are being put at risk, as many are being born addicted to opioids due to exposure while in utero.
There has been a multitude of actions put in place to help lessen the prevalence of opioid abuse and addiction in the country, such as providing naloxone to first responders and providing funding for treatment centers. However, in Ohio, there is still more work that needs to be done. That is why U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stepped up to work alongside Ohio’s law enforcement to help foster positive change.
ICE Offering More Resources to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Ohio
Just a few weeks ago, ICE began providing more funds and agents in Dayton, Ohio in an effort to combat the ever-growing opioid epidemic. Part of that funding is being used to open a new office in Toledo, and to initiate pairing ICE agents with the DEA and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office.
Part of that funding is also being used to train hundreds of law enforcement officers in the state on the Dark Net and Virtual Currency (online drug dealing businesses). Officials in the state have determined that many websites will freely sell opioids like fentanyl. Additionally, it was also determined that sellers also encourage buyers to utilize the United States Post Office for shipping purposes, as they do not require advance data.
Benefits of ICE Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
As with most problems, having a lack of money or a small budget can hinder the process of rectifying big issues. However, now that ICE has included themselves in the opioid-based problems plaguing Ohio, there is a more efficient output of funds that can help mitigate some of these issues.
As ICE continues to partner with local law enforcement, they are also helping to minimize instances of online opioid sales. Specifically targeting online distributors, ICE, specialized agents, and law enforcement officials can help bring down drug rings that add to the continuation of the opioid epidemic in Ohio.
In addition, the sheer presence of ICE and their agents can help drive dealers off streets and get people thinking twice about illegally purchasing opioids or abusing them.
The Dangers of Opioid Addiction
Opioids, such as heroin, Percocet, OxyContin, morphine, and codeine, are narcotic substances that are capable of causing significant physical and psychological impacts on a user. Additionally, these substances are extremely addictive.
When opioids of any kind are being abused, an individual will show some variation of symptoms related to that abuse. Symptoms of opioid addiction can include the following:
- Shallow breathing
- Pinpoint pupils
- Changes in mood
- Changes in sleep and appetite
The continued abuse of opioids can lead to several different problems, such as poor immune system functioning (which can lead to back-to-back illnesses), gastrointestinal complications due to constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea, organ damage, respiratory depression, and death.
One of the greatest dangers related to opioid addiction is the risk for overdose. The longer that an individual abuses opioids, the more likely he or she is to suffer an overdose that can be fatal if the appropriate medical attention is not received.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Thankfully, opioid addiction can be treated, regardless of how long an individual has been abusing these substances for.
Treatment for opioid addiction often begins with detox, where an individual’s body and mind will be cleared of opioids. During this time, withdrawal can begin, which can produce severe physical and psychological complications. However, when detoxing in a professional treatment center, individuals can receive care that will help minimize their pain.
After detox has been completed, individuals will begin therapeutic work, where they will likely engage in individual and group therapy sessions. Additional therapeutic options might include family therapy and experiential therapy, along with the application of behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
When treatment is completed, individuals will be provided with an aftercare plan that will outline what they should do in order to maintain their sobriety. This might include participating in a 12-Step program, seeing a therapist on a regular basis, or both.
Get Help Today
Whether you are in Ohio or across the country in California, know that there is help available if you are addicted to opioids. You do not have to continue to abuse prescription painkillers or heroin and watch your life pass you by. Through a comprehensive treatment approach, you can uncover the reasons why you have been abusing opioids, develop healthy coping skills, and find ways to move forward with your life without abusing opioids. The best part? You do not have to go it alone.
So, if you are addicted to opioids and are ready to end your abuse once and for all, reach out to us right now. We understand the challenges that you have faced and can help you overcome the obstacles you have. Call us today.