A few weeks ago we were pleased to report the annual Monitoring the Future survey showed a dramatic reduction in teenage prescription opioid use. Clear evidence that adolescents are getting the message about the dangers of opioid narcotic use. Unfortunately, when it comes to adults, people are still losing their lives every day at unprecedented rates—the result of untreated opioid addiction leading to an overdose death.
The opioid addiction rates across the country are a serious cause for concern. For the last several years, both lawmakers and health experts have come together to develop strategies for tackling the ongoing public health crisis. Between the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, more than a billion dollars should be directed towards providing greater access to addiction treatment services and the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
In over 100 cities throughout the country, municipal police departments have implemented some version of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.). After realizing that arrests would not have an impact on the opioid addiction crisis, police departments with “angel programs” encourage addicts to surrender their drugs to police, who will then find them a bed at a treatment facility. Hundreds of addicts have found help because of the paradigm shift in thinking with regard to punishing addiction.
Opioid Addiction Task Force
Even in cities which have not adopted P.A.A.R.I., efforts are being made to address the epidemic. South Florida has been ravaged by opioid addiction and overdose, requiring the need for drastic measures to be taken. Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez in partnership with the State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and other state agencies came together to create the Miami-Dade Opioid Addiction Task Force. At the end of January, the task force met to discuss effective methods of treatment for addicts and plans for taking a tougher stance on drug dealers, CBS Miami reports. Mayor Gimenez highlights the urgency:
“We’ve had more opioid deaths in the last year… more opioid deaths than car crashes, more opioids deaths than homicides.”
The Opioid Addiction Task Force aims to:
- Meet with the community to identify best practices in deterring new users.
- Address holistic and comprehensive methods for treating opioid addiction.
- Utilize healthcare solutions to the epidemic.
Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:
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Addiction, of any kind does not discriminate, as is ever so clear by looking closely at the epidemic’s vast impact. Addressing the crisis will require that lawmakers, health experts and addiction professionals work together to develop effective plans that seek to treat addiction, rather than punish people for having an illness.
“We have a very serious epidemic of opiate addiction and overdose around the country and specifically in Miami-Dade. Our young people are dying by alarming numbers and we must do more to protect them from these very dangerous substances. Family Recovery Specialists is looking forward to participating in this task force to support the county in their efforts and do our part to save lives and help those that are suffering with addiction,” offered Ray Estefania, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Family Recovery Specialists.
If you have a loved one who is addicted to opioids or heroin, please feel free to call Family Recovery Specialists. We offer interventions, outpatient rehab, and specialize in providing individual and family therapy to young adults and adolescents, but we also work with older adults and parents who want to become more effective at home. Remember by working together, recovery is possible.