Medical professionals say the opioid epidemic is exploding. It’s partially because in some cases narcotics are still being over prescribed. But court cases and police involvement aren’t the only ways to correct the problem, according to officials.
West Virginia still leads the nation in overdose deaths, and this problem is continuing to spread. The American College of Physicians released a paper advocating for a different way to handle the situation, more treatment and less criminal convictions.
“The ACP feels that substance abuse disorders is a chronic illness and it should not be criminalized. But there should be access for patients to seek proper treatment for their condition,” said Dr. Nitin S. Damie, President of the American College of Physicians.
In Wheeling alone, officials say at least two to three overdoses happen each day. Throughout the state, the number is even higher, which is why the American College of Physicians is passionately trying to prevent and treat substance abuse disorders.
To combat prescription drug misuse, the ACP recommends that physicians follow appropriate clinical guidelines related to pain management and prescriptions,.
“It’s just common sense things to not inappropriately prescribe narcotics or give narcotics to patients who really shouldn’t have them. We also do a lot here with our case managers and emergency department to provide resources to patients who do have problems with addictions and want to seek help to get past this addiction,” said Dr. Neal Aulick, Medical Director at EmStar.
The ACP says that substance abuse endangers individuals and their families, but access to care for these disorders is limited.