“Just one month into 2015, the headlines are sadly familiar: Heroin use rising in Kentucky; Accidental deaths from drug use on rise in North Dakota; Massachusetts sees spike in heroin overdoses, deaths.
For years, the statistics around opiate and heroin abuse have begged for action. Last year the city of Taunton experienced over 200 overdoses alone. In the first 20 days of 2015 the city had 10 more. They are hardly alone.
As our country and commonwealth struggle to stem this epidemic, state-run Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMPs, are a key element of any solution. Four out of five heroin users first experience addiction through prescription opioids. From helping doctors identify drug-seeking patients to monitoring inappropriate prescription practices, PDMPs work to fend off substance abuse before it starts.
Of course, prescription monitoring is just one piece to the puzzle. We need better support systems for the tireless local champions tackling this issue on the ground in every community. We need to achieve true mental health parity, so substance abuse treatment is a right and not a privilege. We need to work with international partners to crack down on drug trafficking. We need to reform reimbursement rates to ensure patients have access to affordable care. We need to support U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark’s efforts to help tackle the heartbreaking rise of opiate-addicted newborns and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating and U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch’s work to ensure these powerful pills are tamper resistant.”
Source: MetroWestDailyNews.com – February 19, 2015