The Opioid Epidemic is also commonly known as the opioid crisis. This is the increase in the deaths associated with opioids. It also includes the psychological, medical, and social consequences of the recreational and medical abuse of these substances.
Drug abuse deaths have increased by up to 30% from the year 2019 to 2020, and since 1999 it has multiplied by 5. In 2020, there were close to 92,000 drug abuse deaths, and close to 85% of them involved opioids.
In this article, we will talk about the strategies that can help in combating the opioid epidemic, while also using ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. But first, let us understand what an opioid is.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are medications or substances that work on the opioid receptors, and they help to produce some kind of morphine effects. In a medical sense, these substances are used as pain relievers. They are also medically being used to suppress diarrhea and reduce cough.
Three Different Waves of Opioid-Related Deaths
Nearly 570,000 people have died from the abuse of opioids from the year 1999 to 2020. This includes both illegal and prescription opioids.
The increase in these opioid abuse deaths can be highlighted in about 3 different waves, which are as follows:
- The very first wave started when the prescription of opioids increased in the early 1990s. Since the year 1999, there has been an increase in overdose deaths which relates to prescription opioids.
- It was 2010 that marked the start of the second wave. There was a rapid increase in drug abuse deaths which involved heroin.
- The year 2013 marked the beginning of the third wave. This saw the increase in drug overdose deaths which involve synthetic opioids. These deaths are also related to fentanyl which has been manufactured illegally.
Other drugs also have a role to play in many of the opioid-related deaths.
Now let us consider the strategies that can help in fighting against this Epidemic, and also why visiting a psychiatrist in Amherst MA can be of great benefit.
Strategies That Have Proven to Be Successful in Combating Opioid Epidemics
Here are some of the things that can be done to help in fighting the opioid epidemic:
Making Use of The Prevention Strategy
There are several ways that opioid use disorder can be prevented, and this includes:
- Share resources and create awareness of the risks of misusing opioids and. Use multimedia platforms to do innovative campaigns to reach a large audience. This can also be done with the use of social media.
- Using Prescription drug monitoring programs, commonly known as PDMPs. This makes it easier for healthcare providers to monitor the prescription drug history of the patients.
Making Use of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy
KAP is one of the most effective ways of combating opioid disorders. This kind of treatment combines psychotherapeutic support with the use of ketamine. In this session, there will be an experienced therapist available to guide the patient through the transformation which is made possible by ketamine.
With this strategy, it will be easier to address all the basic emotional and psychological factors that contribute to the addiction to opioids. This will help to provide a great opportunity for personal growth and healing.
After making research on ketamine treatment for opioid addiction, there have been some positive results. According to the research, ketamine has the ability to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also reduce the depression that has been caused by opioids.
It has also been discovered that Ketamine-Assisted psychotherapy can help to improve treatment outcomes. It also enhances emotional well-being and increases abstinence rates.
Naloxone Distribution Strategy
Naloxone is a life-saving, non-addictive drug. It is effective in fixing all the damages that have been caused by opioid overuse. But, for this drug to work well, it has to be administered in time.
With Naloxone Distribution programs, individuals who use drugs will be equipped with naloxone kits. They will also be trained on how they can save a life with this kit in case of an emergency.
MAT And MOUD Strategy
This is another strategy that can help in combating the opioid epidemic. MAT, which means, Medicated-Assisted Treatment, is effective in treating opioid disorder. FDA-approved medicines are the backbone of a particular kind of treatment.
Medications like buprenorphine and methadone trigger the opioid receptors that are in a patient’s brain. This helps to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms and it won’t cause any intense feelings of happiness.
Using the Academic Detailing Strategy
This might be surprising to you but don’t worry, we’ll explain better. For academic detailing, trained professionals will make structured visits to various Healthcare providers.
They will provide technical assistance and tailored training that will help healthcare providers to work effectively in saving lives.
The Syringe Services Program Strategy
SSPs (Syringe Service Programs) are prevention programs done in the community. They offer several services, like testing; linkage to treatment of opioid-related disorders; infectious disease treatment; linkage to social, mental health, and medical services; and giving/disposal of injection equipment and sterile syringes.
Enforcing the 911 Good Samaritan Law Strategy
In the United States in general, each state has its own scope of these laws. But, the whole law is written for the main purpose of reducing the barriers of contacting 911 when there is an overdose issue.
These kinds of laws benefit drug abuse victims. It helps them to be protected from some judicial penalties that they could have faced.
The Usage of Ketamine Should Be Monitored
Ketamine is known to be a safe medication. But, the patient should be properly monitored when using this medication. This will help to reduce any potential risks.
Also, the medical history of the patient should be thoroughly reviewed.
What is the main cause of opioid addiction?
Opioid addiction can be caused by various things. For example, psychiatric problems, depression, and childhood abuse. Having a history of substance abuse can also cause it.
How can the opioid epidemic be controlled?
There are a few things that can be done to stop this crisis. For example, reducing illicit opioids, reducing harm, and promoting treatment.
What are opioids known for?
Opioids are commonly known as narcotics, opiates, or pain relievers.
The increase in the opioid epidemic can be worrying. But, the good news is that it can be controlled. By following the strategies highlighted in this article, this problem can be stopped.