According to the CDC, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
The nationwide crisis has brought more attention to addiction, and that’s why local communities are working to find the right resources to tackle the problem head on.
From the way companies are selling opioids, to community members reaching out, it’s so severe that ways to combat the issue are coming from all angles.
“The most important thing is that we as prescribing providers, we need to realize and think about the fact that this is a real problem,” Trinity Health’s Director of Trauma Surgery, Gary Wease said.
As a trauma surgeon, his job requires him to prescribe narcotics.
Doctors prescribe the pills that come from pharmaceutical companies – one of the biggest being Purdue Pharma, which recently announced that they “will no longer promote opioids to prescribers.”
But Dr. Wease said that doesn’t do much to solve the problem at hand, “we’re not really influenced, especially with respect to narcotics, by any type of marketing. So I’m not sure that that’s going to make a huge difference.”
He said it’s the doctor’s responsibility to recognize different sorts of pain and act accordingly.
But beyond that, fighting addiction takes a group effort.
“You know, as community members, if we know our friends or family members are involved in something like that we need to not be afraid to say something and not be afraid to encourage them to seek help,” Wease said.
That’s where Darla DesLauriers and Frank Schaefer come in.
As former addiction counselors, they want to help teach people about addiction, resources available, and what more can be done.
“This isn’t a one person or two person agenda,” Schaefer said. “It’s really a community issue and the community needs to be involved in order to address the issue.”
That’s why he and his former colleague started a support and resources group that meets here at First District Health Unit.
They hope that it will be a safe place for anyone affected by any sort of addiction.
DesLauriers said, “[it’s] just providing that place where they can talk if they need to, ask questions. Sometimes be mad. Whatever it is they need, and just helping.”
The two said they started the group with the goal of connecting people who need help with those who can and want to help in any way.
The group meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 6:30-8pm, see the remaining schedule with talking points below:
3/1 Dynamics of recovering addicts & families
3/15 Committal laws & insurance boundaries
4/5 Emergency room boundaries
4/19 Medically assisted treatment
5/3 Probation/parole information
Frank and Darla have made it a point to bring in local resources to give in-depth explanations of the issues and realities of addiction.
They will continue the group as long as the need is there and a spring/summer schedule is in the works.