Mulligan Management Group, LLC

Ohio’s Opioid Crisis: Short and Long-Term Solutions

Ohio is in the throes of an opioid epidemic that shows no signs of abating. In 2005, 500 Ohioans died from opioid overdoses. Two years ago, 2,700 opioid overdoses occurred. That is a 440% increase in 10 years!  Also in 2005, most overdoses were caused by heroin. Today, most overdoses are caused by fentanyl, carfentanil or a heroin/fentanyl combination.

This 4-minute video, courtesy of the Today Show, helps explain the core of this crisis:

Today’s blog post will give you basic information about opioids, along with the short- and long-term solutions to this crisis as I see it.


What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a class of drugs that are both legal and illegal. They bind to one or more of the three opioid receptors of the body thus producing euphoria for the user.

Legal pain relievers such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®) and others are prescribed by a physician and are considered generally safe when taken for a short time.

However, after the legal pain relievers are no longer available, an individual may turn to the illegal drug heroin or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil to keep that euphoric feeling going. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger and carfentanil is 5,000-10,000 times stronger than heroin, thus the reason for many more overdoses in recent years.


Short-Term Solutions: Naloxone and Incarnation

Naloxone (or commonly refered to as Narcan) is a synthetic drug that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system and often can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. In order to administer this drug to someone in need, individuals must go through Ohio’s Project DAWN program.  Many police and fire departments in Ohio have access to this drug and administer it often.

In addition, addicts are often jailed because they are found in possession of these drugs or commit a crime to raise cash for opioids; leaving them to go through withdraw without proper supervision or trained addiction services staff to oversee the process.

These are short-term solutions that prevents overdoses, however the user will still need long-term addiction recovery services to kick their habit.


Long-Term Solutions: Treatment, Housing and Jobs

It is time we all stop treating individuals with this addiction as criminals and realize as they need compassion and treatment.

At Coleman Professional Services, we offer a jail diversion program and a variety of addiction services to keep addicts out of jail and give them a road to recovery that is reachable. As Coleman’s CEO, it is my goal to expand our treatment programs to our entire eight-county area and make it possible for those with limitations (i.e. poor transportation options, disabilities) access to treatment that is convenient to them regardless of their ability to pay.

We also provide housing placement services for those who need help in accessing safe, decent, and affordable housing.

As you viewed in the above video, lack of jobs is considered one of the reasons for this crisis. Roughly 60% of individuals with addiction disorders, disabilities and mental health issues are unemployed. I believe employment is the KEY weapon to winning this fight as it gives an individual structure and a way to support themselves during the recovery process.


Best Solution: Prevention

Parents and educators need to get involved in the Health and Opioid-Abuse Prevention Education (HOPE) and start talking to their children about the dangers of drug abuse. Find out if your school system is offering this program and lobby for its inclusion, if it is not currently being offered.

If you are an employer who is hiring, Coleman Employment Services would appreciate the opportunity to match individuals with disabilities to your employment needs.

Contact us today for more information about the way we can serve you. 

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