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Prescription Opioids Main Driver In Overdose Deaths, Poisonings
- A greater percentage of non-Hispanic white residents.
- A greater prevalence of diabetes and arthritis.
- Micropolitan areas (non-metro small cities and big towns).
- Higher unemployment.
State Rules Change Around Opioid PrescriptionsNew state guidelines went into effect in May around how doctors can prescribe pain medications were put into place to combat opioid abuse and heroin addiction. Attorney General Brad Schimel said the state is headed in the “right direction” on opioid prescribing. Most people who abuse prescription opioids get them for free from a friend or relative, according to the CDC. In a press release, Schimel released the following statement:
“Responsible medical providers have recognized the role they play in reducing opioid dependence and have been a crucial partner in our state’s battle against drug abuse. Credit for recent success is also owed to Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch, and our elected officials who, under Rep. Nygren’s leadership, have advanced the HOPE agenda, which is saving lives and transforming the way we think about addiction. I am confident law enforcement and Wisconsin’s political leaders, along with leading voices in the state’s medical community, will continue to have a profound impact on opioid abuse and make our state safer and stronger.”The new guidelines, set in place by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, challenged medical practitioners to make more informed decisions about acute and chronic pain treatment. However, the guidelines don’t apply to people in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care. Opioids are a class of drug doctors use to sometimes manage pain. The drug class also includes the illegal drug, heroin. Developed with the Center for Disease Control, the state guidelines outline several best practices for responsible prescribing, but Schimel said more work needs to be done. “There is still a lot of work to be done here in Wisconsin and I look forward to continuing the battle against these deadly drugs through enforcement actions and law enforcement trainings, and will carry on with successful prevention efforts like the Dose of Reality public awareness campaign and disposing of unused medications at biannual drug take back days, both of which are changing attitudes toward drug abuse and dispelling the myths about addiction,” he said. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction issues, please contact the Racine County Behavioral Health Services Department.
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