Reducing Drug Induced Deaths
During the year 2005, approximately 22m Americans were experiencing alcohol or drug related problem. Around 99% of people who abused substances or drugs were not aware of the problem they were experiencing. 273, 000 people out of those who identified their problem unsuccessfully sought treatment of their identified problems. The problems suffered included domestic violence, homicide, suicide and motor vehicle accidents/ crashes. These incidences emphasize the importance of enhancing measures to prevent and treat substance/ drug abuse and their related disorders. Such measures will improve the safety, health and life quality of the victims. This paper explores the 2020 objective of reducing drug-induced deaths.
Substance abuse involves consumption of behavior and mind altering substances that pose negative effects on both the behavior and health of the person consuming them. It has chief impacts on communities, families and individuals. The impacts are cumulative and substantially contribute to higher mental, physical, social and health costs. National peace is undermined and abusers’ health deteriorated negatively affecting the economy as the victims are not fit to maximally contribute to its development. To save country from loss of her citizens, such drugs have to be controlled or abolished.
Alcohol is one of the most abused substances. Studies have found that it is the chief contributor to deaths and disability-adjusted life. Between year 2001 and year 2005, seven thousand two hundred and thirty five (7235) alcohol-deaths were reported by the center for disease control and prevention (CDCP) (Kaplan, 2013). It also commonly contributes to suicidal behavior. This is supported by research that found acute alcohol drinking commonly preceding suicidal acts.
Alcohol is addictive to the users. People were found to increasing the amounts consumed relative to their increasing drinking period. They developed into chronic drinkers who suffered from impulsivity, poor judgment, inter-personal conflict and emotionality. They could not relate well with others and mismanaged their resources, especially money. This led them into severe depression states.
Thirty six thousand (36,000) annual deaths in the united sates are as a result of drug overdose; with heroin being prevalent in use among the people. For instance, 10% of the population in Baltimore, Maryland is on heroin. The region had 68,000 drug users with majority being heroin users and only 34% of them attended drug treatment (Pomeranz, 2013). The risk of overdose was higher in the long-term injection drug users, abbreviated IDUs. The major contributing factor to higher risk was the abstinence periods due to drug treatment or recent incarcerations.
The high percentage of population on drugs saw the introduction of overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution (OPEND) program. This is a program training drug-users on overdose prevention and administration of naloxone when an overdose is recorded. The programs have been on the increase and in the year 2012, around 188 programs were I operation. A group of over 1,200 treatment and medical officers has reached to 35,000 drug users in the region and over 85,000 inmates. 196 cases of addict reversals were reported in the period 2003-2009 while 250 cases were recorded for the period 2009-2012.
Overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution program together with opiate substitution therapy has proved a success. First, they have reversed the heroin addicts. They have educated the current users preventing further cases of overdose and/or addiction. They have highlighted the importance of such public practices; they have significantly decreased the overdose mortality rates. With no doubt, they will continue reducing the drug overdose and abuse incidences.
The commonly available supplements and over-the-counter drugs are widely abused by youths. They include weight control pills and laxatives. This is because they are not recommended medically for controlling weight health wise and misuse leads to severe health consequences. Research found that 4% of boys and 6% of girls in United States took diet products without prescription or advice of physician. Such use results in cardiovascular system impairment, dehydration, hypokalemia, chronic diarrhea and sometimes death (Sherman, 2013).
The representative study of the households in united sates by the national comorbidity replication found out that half of bulimia nervosa victims, a condition common in abusers of diet pills, suffered from the illness at tender age of 18. This implies that more people are using weight control pills and other over-the-counter drugs without advice from physician without thinking of the consequences. This trend is common among adolescents. Therefore, measures have to be instituted to ensure the 2020 objective or reducing drug-induced deaths is realized. The best measure is to tighten the regulation of over-the- counter drugs.
Substance abuse leads to negative effects on both behavior and health of the users. The person abusing the drug can suffer acute diarrhea, emotionality, impaired judgment or even die. He or she can also commit suicide and quarrel with colleagues. The consequences are not for a single person; they are collective. They affect more people directly and indirectly.
Drug abuse is a problem to the individual, nation and community. The antisocial behavior developed after drug abuse, costs incurred during rehabilitation and reduced or withdrawn contribution to national development cut across all levels of socialization. It deteriorates the health and thus life, the most precious gift, of a person. Therefore, it is critical to eliminate drug abuse. Stringent regulations ought to be adopted.
Kaplan, M. S, et al (2013). Acute alcohol consumption as contributing factor to suicidal behavior/caine responds. American Journal of Public Health, 103(9), E2-E3.
Pomeranz, J. L. et al (2013). Over-the-counter and out-of-control: legal strategies to protect youths from abusing products for weight control. American Journal of Public Health, 103(2), 220-225.
Sherman, S. G. et al (2013). Efforts to reduce overdose deaths/Schwartz et al respond. American Journal of Public Health, 103(8), E1-E3.