According to a recent study conducted by Siena College, more people say they are impacted by the opioid crisis than 2 years ago. The study states 59% of New Yorker’s have been touched by the opioid epidemic. Read more about the study below.
More Impacted by Opioid Epidemic than 2 Years Ago
What did the study show?
The study, recently published online by Siena College, examined surveys by New Yorkers over the last two years. Researchers found between 57 and 78 percent have “seen increases in the awareness of the dangers of prescription pain medication, and lifesaving drugs like Naloxone or Narcan being more often available.” The poll also showed physicians exhibiting more care in prescribing opioids.
“Seventy-eight percent of state residents, down slightly from 82 percent in 2018, say that opioid abuse is a somewhat or very serious problem in their area. And most people are touched by this epidemic. Fifty-nine percent have at least one if not several of these experiences; someone in their immediate or extended family or a co-worker has abused opioids, a friend shared with them that they had family member suffering opioid addiction or they knew someone that died due to opioid abuse,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s Director.
The survey is part of a community effort by Prescription for Progress: United against opioid addiction, a coalition of leaders in healthcare, media, law enforcement, education and business in New York’s Capital Region.
Additional results from the study:
- Sixty-two percent believe it is not true that fewer people are dying from opioid overdoses and 64 percent say that the stigma associated with opioid abuse has not lessened in the last two years-
- Sixty-five percent, down from 83 percent in 2018, think that the problem of opioid abuse has gotten worse.
- New Yorkers overwhelmingly continue to support strengthening the prescription monitoring service
- Eighty-four percent are in favor of punishing doctors that are shown to over-prescribe opioids and expanding drug rehabilitation programs within correctional facilities.
- Sixty-three percent — up from 59 percent — favor increasing support to syringe exchange programs.
- Support for improving access to medications like methadone and buprenorphine as a way to wean addicts off other opioids rose from 60-68 percent.
- Support for increasing funding for supervised injection sites increased from 41 to 48 percent.
- Sixty-eight percent support allowing high schools to randomly drug test students provided they have parental approval.
“We do see several encouraging signs in the data,” Levy said. “A growing percentage, 76 percent up from 70 percent two years ago, say that they were prescribed the right amount of opioids and more importantly far more doctors and pharmacists are warning patients of the risks of opioids today than were doing so in 2018.
What are opioids and their effects?
An opioid is a naturally occurring or artificially manufactured substance that has similar biochemical actions to the active substance found in the opium poppy: morphine. Some naturally occurring opioids include morphine and codeine. Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet) are considered semi-synthetic, where the manufacturer starts with a natural substance and chemically adjusts it. Fully synthetic opioids are completely derived from chemicals, with the goal for them to act similar to morphine. This group includes methadone and fentanyl, which is 50 times more addictive than heroin.
The purpose of opioids is to provide a release from pain or produce a positive feeling in the body. The human body has naturally occurring opioids, such as endorphins, which supply the good mood after a hard workout. Unfortunately, taking, snorting, or injecting opioids, naturally occurring or chemically made, can have a significant impact on the body, mind, and brain. Here are some effects of opioids:
- Increased tolerance to the drug, resulting in the need to take more medication for the same pain relief
- Physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms when medication stops
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Itching and sweating
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
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