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PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — The Placer County Health Department is speaking out about its approach to the opioid epidemic. Overall, they say the problem has been improving but more work needs to be done.
Placer County Health Officer Dr. Rob Oldham said the county faces similar problems to other places in the country.
“We have a significant problem with opioids,” admitted Oldham. “I’d say Placer is not as bad as some counties, especially in rural northern California. But we still have about a dozen opioid overdose deaths per year. We’ve seen some improvement, for instance, in the number of prescriptions of opioids. It has decreased by about 27 percent in the last four or five years. But we still have significant room for improvement.”
Oldham explained the importance of also working to reduce the stigma and preserving the therapeutic perspective of the drugs.
“People shouldn’t hide in shame and there’s a lot of stigma around opioid use disorders and people having addiction,” said Oldham. “But they’re treatable. And also recognizing that opioids are medications that can be very helpful for use for acute pain and other very narrow indications and reasons they should be prescribed. So physicians and other providers have to be careful when prescribing opioids, but we want to make sure people who need them still have access, but also to educate the public and providers about the dangers associated with them.”
Oldham said it will take a broadspectrum approach but things are getting better.
“We luckily have had a coalition in Placer County working on opioids that involves physicians and other healthcare providers, involves law enforcement,” Oldham explained. “It involves really lots of other community-based organizations. And so [there are] lots of different people coming together to work on this. So some of the, I mentioned the prescriptions have gone down significantly. We have treatment resources that have gone up. And so one of the things that we’re seeing is some people who are becoming addicted to opioids, not via prescriptions but just through drugs on the street, heroin, etc. So, we’re really focusing more on providing more treatment services for people with addiction.”
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First Publish Date: 2019-10-01 10:12:00
Author: , (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by ZeeNews24 staff and is published from a syndicated feed.) Reuters