Every inhabited region in the world has experienced its own problems with alcoholism and drug addiction, and sadly the state of Washington is no different. Despite its luscious scenery and gorgeous mountains, the land provides for its inhabitants, residents have ignored the beautiful nature in search of drugs, the most common of which is Heroin.
According to the NIH, “Heroin was the most commonly identified drug in reports … in the first half of 2013, as it was in the first half of 2012.” and according to the DEA, Washington is in the top 10 for domestic drug seizures.
In fact, the Seattle Times reported a study done at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute that showed an increase in heroin overdoses by 58 percent in 2013 and 2014, “…fueling the steepest rise in drug-caused deaths in 17 years.”
The issue is not just the fact that there are many active users in Washington, but also the fact that the heroin being seen in the area seem to have a much higher purity than in other states. This means that the Heroin being found is significantly more deadly because of its powerful potency.
Despite these disastrous numbers, Washington has made every attempt to combat Heroin overdose through the use of an opiate antidote called Naloxone, also known as Narcan.
Sadly, Heroin is only the most common drug that is reported by the state, meaning that it still has to deal with many others.
Seattle especially seems to be struggling the most when it comes to prescription narcotics, particularly painkillers. In 2014 there were more than 95 deaths as a result of Oxycodone. Though this is “down from 164 in 2009, a 40 percent drop.”
The worst part about prescription-medication addiction is that it can be hard to tell when there is a problem. Addiction to prescription painkillers comes when the person is in constant pain, a sensation just about any living being would do anything to be rid of. Enter substances like Oxycodone, Morphine, Vicodin and others that can relieve this pain and allow functionality.
For this very reason, it is always a good idea to have someone close to you help manage your prescription. This can help to ensure you don’t take too many at once, or take more than the recommended amount per day, as well as avoid a severe physiological dependency.
On a statewide level, Narcan has been used to help reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and save the lives of many victims. In fact, the state has even issued over 900 kits and has reported over 200 reversals. Families can even obtain and learn to use Narcan in order to help potentially overdosing family members.
But when it comes down to the meat of the issue, Caleb Banta-Green, an associate professor of health services, says “the real fix… is getting people into medication-assisted drug treatment.”
Untreated opiate addiction can be fatal, and it requires expert knowledge in order to properly handle. The only way to truly help someone who is experiencing addiction is to get them into a rehabilitation clinic and help them to learn how to live without drugs again. The work can be hard, but at the end of the day, the person will be able to live a full, clearer, cleaner life.