The opioid crisis continues to spread across the United States despite the several measures and reforms implemented by federal agencies. Opioid addiction, which was earlier common among war veterans and those suffering from chronic pain, is now highly prevalent among the common masses, including teenagers and women. More and more people are succumbing to an opioid overdose every day. In 2016, drug overdoses contributed to nearly 63,600 deaths, with opioids causing around 42,000 fatalities, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Now, media reports suggest an increasing number of deaths of nurses due to opioid overdose. In one such incident, a 53-year-old Spokane County woman was found dead after she reportedly consumed 300 hydrocodone pills, which was prescribed to her to treat migraine. According to a review analysis of Washington death records, from 2010 to 2015, more than 33 medical professionals in the state lost their lives due to opioid overdoses. Most of them were nurses, pharmacy technicians, and chemical dependency counselors. Surprisingly, such people are equipped with the knowledge about good or bad effects of an opioid medication.
As per experts, while heroin still remains the common cause of death due to overdose, medical professionals tend to use prescription painkillers with oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl being the common preferences.
Rising rate of opioid abuse
Medical professionals have an easy access to opioid pills. Also, they are not suspected for abusing them. However, factors like high-stress job, and odd working hours makes them more susceptible to opioid abuse. Being a nurse is more stressful as she has to deal with a different kinds of patients, which becomes taxing for them.
Currently, the Washington Health Professional Services is mulling over a carrot and stick approach policy wherein nurses found abusing drugs will be put on a monitoring agreement and asked to adhere to a treatment program. They would get their licenses back only if they comply with counseling, group therapy, and pass drug tests. Subsequently, they can continue their practice once they are deemed safe.
Road to recovery
Opioid addiction is strengthening its root day-by-day. The disease is still considered a stigma and is associated with factors like making bad choices, having a faulty lifestyle or flawed character. This further prevents people from seeking medical help and attain sobriety. The picture is no different for the medical professionals, including nurses. Hence, most of the deaths due to overdose are quiet and sudden.
It is important to have open conversation if abusing opioids due to any reason, as there could be multiple causes, including a genetic predisposition for the addiction to occur in a person. Opioid abuse is like any other addiction and can be treated with a proper medical intervention that includes medication and therapies. Experts feel that factors like frequent writing of prescription by physicians, sharing of prescription, and the misbelief that prescription drugs are less harmful, are driving people to abuse opioids.
If you or a loved one is abusing opioids or have exhibited symptoms of substance use disorder, seek assistance from the Prescription Drug Addiction Help. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 623-3847 or chat online with one of our experts to know about the best prescription drug addiction treatments. You can also enquire about the finest prescription drug rehab available near you. Remember the fact that opioid use disorder (OUD) can have life-threatening consequences, if not treated in time.