To the editor:
Ohio’s opiate epidemic is a
concern. A new report was published by the Kaiser Family Foundation
showing that Ohio led the nation in opioid overdose deaths. One in nine
heroin deaths in the U.S. occurred in Ohio. This report highlighted 2014
overdose numbers and we already know that 2015 outpaced those numbers
and the trend has not slowed down in 2016. The headlines throughout the
state have continued to show how devastating this addiction can be for
individuals, for families, and communities. We’ve spent a lot of time
talking about Ohio’s opiate epidemic and the resulting overdose deaths
and we should. This is a crisis of epidemic proportion impacting every
corner of our state.
But today, we want to talk about the
survivors and highlight the hope. We know that an overdose does not have
to be a death sentence. Lives can be saved. Treatment for opiate
addiction works. People can and do recover. Treatment and recovery are
not always easy and the process can be long, but it works. At the end of
the day, individuals who have been able to successfully access and
engage in treatment and those who have been connected with recovery
supports can achieve and sustain long-term recovery in their community.
Mothers and fathers are reconnected with children. Children are
reconnected with their parents and families. Employees reengage,
friendships are revitalized, and communities continue to thrive.
works. People recover. And Recovery is Beautiful. This sounds like a
tagline because it is, but it’s also the truth. As we continue to
address this opiate epidemic in Ohio, we all need to come together to
share hope every chance we get. It’s going to take all of us working
together in every community throughout the state to end this epidemic.
We need to focus on prevention, intervention, interdiction, treatment,
and recovery. Every sector of society is impacted by this epidemic and
it’s going to take every part of every community to develop a solution
to this problem.
As we enter 2017, we need a hope for change and a
plan for action. Let’s commit now to doing everything we can to help
our family, our friends, our colleagues, and our neighbors impacted by
opiate addiction. In 2017, let’s change the conversation. Let’s talk
about how addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. Let’s talk about
how treatment works and people recover. And let’s celebrate those in
recovery in our communities and throughout our state! For more
information contact The Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug Addiction
Recovery Board of Putnam County.
Jennifer Horstman, MSW
Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Board of Putnam County