Young victims of the opioid epidemic need specialized strategies

Just a few years ago, the words “opioid epidemic” would have raised moderate public concern at best. Now, not a day goes by without news reports citing the latest statistics on overdose deaths and the most recent political initiative to combat the raging trend in drug abuse.

The numbers are staggering. Opioid-related overdose deaths – primarily due to prescription painkillers and heroin – have more than quadrupled since 2000. Georgia is among the states where the increase has been particularly steep: more than 10 percent since 2013.

The nation’s opioid epidemic has grabbed the headlines and hence has become a pressing political priority, “right up there at the top of our radar screen,” as President Obama said recently at the Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta.

The heightened awareness is a good thing. It could mean more funds available in future federal and state budgets to broaden access to treatment services. And it could also draw attention to the group most affected by the opioid epidemic: young adult abusers.

Read the full article on Georgia Health News.

By: Dr. Michael L. Fishman
June 24, 2016