August 18, 2017 — How widespread is the opioid epidemic? A recent study revealed that a third of Philadelphia residents have used an opioid in the last year.
The city’s health department surveyed 466 residents and found a majority of those who responded received those drugs directly from a doctor.
According to NewsWorks, city officials are stepping up efforts to improve their approach to the drug crisis.
Fewer people becoming addicted, he says, means fewer people who then turn to heroin and other drugs that are responsible for a recent surge in overdose deaths. In Philadelphia, drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among 25 to 44 year olds and it has jumped to the third leading cause, overall, accounting for more deaths than stroke and respiratory disease.
The health department has sent out prescribing guidelines to 16,000 doctors around the region, and has been working with health plans and hospitals on ways to change the culture. The city also recently launched an ad campaign aimed at educating patients.
With more medication in the public’s hands, additional resources to safely dispose unused pills and improved addiction awareness are needed.
Read the full story on NewsWorks.