Last year, the federal government announced that the addiction and abuse of opioids had reached epidemic and dangerous proportions across the nation, including here in Ohio. In an attempt to combat this crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a strategy involving five key points. Whether the plan actually reduces the number of drug injuries from these narcotics remains to be seen.
The plan involved the agency distributing $800 million in grants in 2017 for use in the prevention, support, treatment and recovery of opioid addictions. Of course, anyone who suffers from an addiction to these drugs can tell others that is only part of the battle. Doctors prescribe many of these drugs for pain after an injury. Even if they are the most effective treatment, is the potential for addiction and abuse worth it?
The HHS program attempts to answer this question as well. Research regarding alternative forms of treatment other than these dangerous medications is underway. At the same time, the agency is attempting to obtain better data on their use, abuse and overdose.
New medications to combat overdosed are also being examined. Approximately $74 million is earmarked for research into such overdose-reversing drugs in 2019. Finally, the agency wants to gain a better understanding of addiction and pain.
All of these efforts may be well-intentioned, but that may not help those here in Ohio and across the country who struggle every day with an addiction to opioids, which continues to happen despite the new attention brought to the problem. Drug manufacturers have yet to take adequate responsibility for their part of this crisis. Recovering addicts who suffered drug injuries from their use, along with families who lost their loved ones to these drugs, may want to continue to come forward in an attempt to stop pharmaceutical companies from profiting from their pain, suffering and addictions.