Oklahoma Battles Opioid Epidemic
This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. Cities and counties of all sizes have sued companies that make and distribute prescription opioids. Among the plaintiffs so far: Philadelphia; the state of Ohio; Princeton, West Virginia; the Cherokee Nation; and a consortium of counties across Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released statistics showing that opioid overdoses have spiked 91% in the last year alone, leaving states scrambling to find new ways to battle the epidemic.
Walmart Inc. has created a product that destroys unused prescription pills before they reach the trash can in an effort to help end the state’s crippling opioid crisis.
Walmart’s new product, DisposeRx, prevents unused medicine from getting into the wrong hands. It is a powder that, when mixed with warm water in a pill bottle, creates a gel that can be thrown out responsibly with household trash. The product is free of cost and available at most Walmart locations.
“We wanted to do our part to help curb one of the issues contributing to this deadly epidemic: unused prescriptions in our medicine cabinets,” said Walmart Market Health and Wellness Director Robyn Janaway. “Providing an easy, free, responsible and convenient way to dispose of unused medicine will make an impact and help prevent misuse.”
In the United States, 64,000 individuals died from a drug overdose in 2016, up from 59,000 deaths in 2015. This is the largest jump in the nation’s history.
Ohio has also begun the search for new ideas in order to prevent further deaths from opioids. They began the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge in response to statistics from the Ohio Department of Health that showed there were 3,050 deaths from unintentional drug overdoses in 2015, which equals to roughly eight Ohio citizens dying each day from overdose.
Ohio Governor John R. Kasich put out a call for any ideas on an innovative way to solve the opioid issue in the state. In return, they received hundreds of responses from average citizens, scientists and healthcare professionals across Ohio, the U.S. and nine other countries around the world.
“A good idea can come from anywhere,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to present their solutions so that we can find new ways to address this very difficult issue and hopefully save lives.”
Ahead of all the ideas that came in, one was a neurofeedback program that can examine brain activity in order to help those who are recovering from drug addiction.
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association is donating NARCAN Nasal Spray, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, to sheriffs and deputies at the State Capitol on Feb. 6. NARCAN can be used by both trained and untrained administers and is the only FDA-approved nasal form of naxolone, a medication used to stop the effects of opioids and overdoses. NARCAN Nasal Spray works by holding the nozzle in either nostril of the patient’s nose and pressing the bottom of the spray to release the dose.
Oklahoma’s Wellness Now coalition is presenting information about the signs of addiction, along with community resources and information on opioid overdose prevention Feb. 6 at the Midwest City Library.