Friends, Relatives Fueling Drug Crisis

Editor, News-Register:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,(SAMHSA), a federal agency which deals with drug use, addiction, and overdoses published some very important information and I wanted to share this with the Ohio Valley as this problem affects all of us.

The report identified how different misusers of pain relievers get their drugs which include Opioids and Benzodiazepines like Ativan, and Xanax.

They broke it down into three categories: (A) Bought from friend/relative, dealer or internet, (B) Prescribed from one or more doctors, and (C) Obtained from friend/relative for free or without asking.

The results are astonishing!

Sixty-eight percent of recent users got their meds from category (C) category, i.e. relatives.

Sixty-six percent of occasional users got got their meds from category (C), i.e. relatives.

Forty-one percent of frequent or chronic users got their meds from Category (C), i.e., relatives.

Misusers getting their meds from Category (A), i.e., friends, relatives, ranged from 9 percent for recent use to 28 percent for the frequent users.

Finally, misusers in Category (B), i.e., from doctors ranged from 17-26 percent.

Doctors, mental health providers, and our politicians are powerless to treat this problem as this is cultural and outside anything that we as healthcare providers can “fix.” This drug use culture is being determined outside the traditional clinical setting that we are used to. Until we change this mindset that it’s OK to take “other people’s medications,” we will continue to see this staggering public health issue of drug diversion, abuse, and overdose.

Roland Chalifoux Jr., DO