Coun­selors want to help stop opi­oid over­dose epi­demic.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick SJ Edi­tor

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.

Kevin Myrick / SJ

Brian Gib­son talks about the grow­ing num­ber of deaths due to opi­oid over­doses hap­pen­ing in the United States daily.

Kevin Myrick / SJ

Stu­dents and par­ents alike take part in Wil­low­brooke’s al­co­hol and opi­oid ad­dic­tion dis­cus­sion last week on Nov. 2.

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