Counselors want to help stop opioid overdose epidemic.
Here’s a statistic that should scare anyone: every day in the United States, 91 people will die from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just last year, 60,000 people died from overdoses of prescription drugs, morphine, heroin and other products derived from opiates according to Brian Gibson, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a primary therapist at Willowbrooke at Tanner.
Providing information about the epidemic and what the community can do to help is the main reason why he and others from the organization that has partnered with Floyd Medical Center in Rome to help with the problem.
The pair of organizations — Willowbrooke now handles mental health and substance abuse issues at Floyd Medical Center — are seeking to try and combat the growing death toll and overall blight on the community that is opiate and alcohol addiction in several events, one of which was held last week at the Polk County College and Career Academy.
“1 out of 10 people in t he U. S. are dealing with addiction, and out of those folks — that’s a lot of people — only one will seek treatment out of those numbers,” Gibson said.
He added that “More people have died from overdoses in the last year than all the soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. And that was just last year.”
The concerns of officials is the growing use of counterfeit opiate prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone will continue to rise, and that usually counterfeits of those pills and many other prescription controlled substances that are laced with fentanyl and other more dangerous derivatives will continue to kill unsuspecting users.
Education, they hope is the silver bullet. Providing information about the signs of addiction, and knowing what to say or do for those who have a problem, is just one step on a long road of recovery for an individual.
Though some of the fo- cus was on drugs, one of the top killers still remains alcohol addiction. An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related reasons annually according to information from the National Institute of Health, second highest in the nation behind tobacco use, and ahead of poor diet and physical activity.
Anyone who missed the event and still wants to learn more will have that chance, but will have to wait until the middle of this week.
The Nov. 2 event at the College and Career Academy was initially going to be made available on the Polk Medical Center Facebook page, but technical difficulties made the stream inoperable.
Officials are holding the same presentation in Rome on Tuesday, and will be posting that to the hospital Facebook page as well.
Brian Gibson talks about the growing number of deaths due to opioid overdoses happening in the United States daily.
Students and parents alike take part in Willowbrooke’s alcohol and opioid addiction discussion last week on Nov. 2.