Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

What exactly are opioids and where do they come from?

According to the Nation Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov):

Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain, though some opioids can be used to treat coughing and diarrhea. Opioids can also make people feel very relaxed and “high” – which is why they are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common. Heroin is one of the world’s most dangerous opioids, and is never used as a medicine in the United States.

Popular slang terms for opioids include Oxy, Percs, and Vikes.

Should people be worried about getting painkillers from their doctor?

Doctors should take precautions when prescribing opioids, because everyone is at risk of becoming addicted. Patients should be cautious about using opioids by understanding the potential benefits and potential risks. Everyone should be cautious about opioid use, not worried, just cautious. Opioid use comes with a number of potential consequences. The worst case scenario is opioid overdose death followed by others adverse events such as addiction, more pain, side effects and hormonal imbalances.

What is Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT)?

MAT is the use of medication in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a ‘whole-patient’ approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.

MAT provides a safe and controlled level of medication to relieve or reduce withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.

The MAT Program includes:

  • A comprehensive assessment
  • Medication Management for Opioid Dependence and/or Alcohol Use Dependence
  • Individual and/or group counseling for at least 3 months
  • Recovery support services
  • Random urine drug screens
  • Laboratory testing
  • Case Management Services
  • Peer Support Services
  • Mental Health Services, when applicable
  • Medical or Medically Supported Detox referral, when applicable
  • Inpatient and/or Residential Treatment referral, when applicable
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment, when applicable

NARCAN®

The first and only FDA-approved nasal form of Naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.

  • Rapidly counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose
  • It was developed for first responders, as well as family, friends, and caregivers—with no medical training required
  • Available from your pharmacist, without a prescription from your doctor
  • Covered by most major insurance plans. Contact your health insurance provider to find out your coverage and co-pay requirements for NARCAN® Nasal Spray.
  • Not a substitute for emergency medical care. Call 911!
    • Always get help immediately, even if the person wakes up, because he/she may relapse into respiratory depression.

 

Louisiana has more opioid prescriptions than we have people, and the widespread distribution of Naloxone is a key component of our strategy to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health

SCLHSA Clinic Sites provide the following services for Behavioral Health:

  • A comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment
  • Medical Clearance/Physical
  • Medication Management for Opioid Dependence and/or Alcohol Use Dependence
  • Individual and/or group counseling
  • Random urine drug screens
  • Laboratory testing, when applicable
  • TB/STD Screening
  • Rapid HIV Testing, if desired
  • Hepatitis A Vaccine, if desired
  • Case Management Services
  • Peer Support Services
  • Mental Health Services, when applicable
  • Medical or Medically Supported Detox referral, when applicable
  • Inpatient and/or Residential Treatment referral, when applicable
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment, when applicable

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