Opioids: A “National Epidemic” Also Affecting the Sioux Empire

A national emergency has been declared by President Trump for a crisis in the US that's also affecting the Sioux Empire.

A national emergency has been declared by President Trump for a crisis in the US that’s also affecting the Sioux Empire.

The President said this week that his administration plans to take action on what he calls America’s “opioid epidemic.”

It’s something that has grown significantly in the last few years.

“It is a serious problem, the likes of which, we’ve never had,” said The President. “You know when I was growing up, they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in three Americans are using prescription opioid pain killers and nearly five percent say they took the drugs without their doctor’s permission.

The abuse of these drugs is a problem public health officials say is only continuing to grow.

“We’ve seen more of an increase in the past few years with opioids than we have ever in our history. It’s been truly staggering. And we find 90 percent of all heroin addicts started their opioid use with a legitimate prescription from a doctor,” said R. Matt Walz, a representative of Keystone Treatment and Outreach Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates “overprescribing” by doctors as one of the main factors fueling the opioid epidemic.

Statistics show that each day, nearly 100 Americans die from opioid overdose.

“I’m saying it officially right now, it’s an emergency. It’s a national emergency. We’re gonna spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” said President Trump.

Officially declaring it an emergency could help to allocate more federal funding and resources treatment programs… As well as expand access to overdose antidotes.

It’s a step health officials say is in the right direction, but only a small solution to a very broad addiction problem.

“Talking about opioids and developing a strategy for opioids is one big. A major milestone but we’ve also got to not take our eye off the bigger picture of substance use disorders get the healing that they need and the treatment they deserve,” said Walz.