They say the first step to overcoming addiction is admitting that you have a problem.
It’s true for addicts, and maybe it’s true for others who’ve contributed to the problem. That’s why it’s nice to see a local group of 35 doctors acknowledge that the excess prescriptions doctors write have helped fuel the rise in addictions in America, and here in Douglas County.
Opioid pain medication can be a godsend following surgery. It’s natural for doctors to want to help people who are suffering from pain. We get that.
But the over-prescription of medications like oxycodone can lead to addictions, either in the people prescribed the pills, or the people who find the leftover pills. Four out of five heroin users were first addicted to prescription opioids, and 70 percent of them found their first pills in the medicine cabinet at home. Some of them were teenagers.
Oregon residents have the second highest rate of opioid abuse in the nation.
Opioid addiction is dangerous, and potentially deadly. Each year, about 60,000 people die of drug overdoses. Most of these deaths are a result of addiction to painkillers.
Locally, a group of surgeons and other medical professionals are taking action to prevent such deaths happening in Douglas County. They hope to decrease the number of painkiller pills in circulation. One of their ideas is to initiate a drug take-back program. They’d like to see Mercy Medical Center and local clinics and pharmacies collect unused pain pills.
They also want to encourage doctors to take responsibility by reducing the number of pills they prescribe.
These are important steps, and we applaud them. Drug addiction causes a lot of misery in our community. We’re glad to see doctors stepping up to do something about it.