by Betty Gandee
The opioid addiction, to no surprise, is on the rise in every state but it has really taken a toll in West Virginia. In 2016 there was an astonishing deadly overdose every 10 hours. The root of this crisis is a symptom of a much larger problem, one of hopelessness, isolation, and despair.
In 2017, West Virginia health care providers wrote over 81.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S rate of 58.7 prescriptions. The prescribed amounts are now higher in 2019 and death rates due to addiction continue to raise steadily each year.
This addiction crisis is continuing to grow, not only affecting the users but their unborn children as well. Over a three year span, the cases of addicted children suffering from the effects of opioid use in their mothers has doubled. Going from 25.2 cases to 51.2 cases per 1,000 births.
With this epidemic going full force, Congress has started to make changes to get help and stop the easy prescription of opioids, offering more effective, less addictive ways for pain management. One example for change being developed at WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Ali Rezai, is the implantation of a tiny pellet the size of a grain of rice near a patient’s spine for the first time. This pellet will release a steady and precise dose of non-opioid drug called clonidine to combat lower back pain.
Along with these advancements in health care, Governor, Jim Justice continues to push for better and smarter laws that focus on prevention and treatment.
If you or someone you know has an opioid addiction and wish to seek help you can call the national drug hotline at 1-866-293-7031 to get pointed in the right direction for help.