The use of opioids has reached a level of crisis in recent years and is now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. It is not just a problem that affects cities but now exists in every community in our state. To reduce these senseless deaths, we need to take proactive action to better monitor the legal and illegal trade of drugs and stem the flow of these drugs into our state.
The approach to reduce opioid abuse has multiple steps. First, we need better clinician practices in the writing of prescriptions and better education for non-opioid pain management. We also need to ensure we have sufficient access to treatment for users who are ready to free themselves from opioid addition. Treating users as criminals without treating the underlying addiction does nothing but continue to fill our already bloated prison system.