Saturday, April 6, 2013

Killing the Pain Is Killing People

As prescription painkillers become harder to obtain, more expensive and less likely to get you high, opiate addicts in many areas are finding that it's cheaper to satisfy their jones with cheap Mexican heroin. Even though prescription drug-related deaths are have outstripped auto accidents in some areas, heroin is even more dangerous, cut as it is with a variety of chemicals, and of unpredictable potency.

While some areas, like Idaho and Montana, are still wrestling more with methamphetamine abuse (and have passed strict laws to control over-the-counter drugs like pseudoephedrine), more urban regions (like Minnesota, New York, Washington and Florida) are definitely seeing an increase in heroin related deaths and prescription overdoses.

Native Americans experience an overdose rate triple that of the general population, but even suburban parents of promising athletes have been seeing sports injuries tragically turn to opiate addiction, then death by overdose.

We've been sounding this alarm for a while now, but 2013 is the year that we're taking action. Sign up for our tribal drugs of abuse and drug endangered children training program to talk about how this deadly trend is impacting public health, public budgets and public safety in Indian Country. At our regional sessions and our May 1 webinar on the prescription drug to heroin link, we'll provide an overview of the problem and then get to work discussing solutions that will work with the resources we have in our communities. 

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