Take Charge Ohio Educates Caregivers About Opioid Abuse
Take Charge Ohio is a campaign led by the Ohio Department of Health meant to help doctors understand the need for safe treatment of pain and the use of pain medications, specifically opioid-based drugs. The campaign is statewide and is working to educate doctors and other caregivers with a goal of minimizing opioid overdose in the future. Although the state’s overdose rate was the lowest in 2016 that it has been since 2009, much still needs to be done in order to keep and continue these changes.
Clint Koenig, the medical director for the Ohio Department of Health, had this to say about the program: “The real issues that we’re really worried about have to do with addiction and being able to break that dependence on the opiate. That’s what we’re worried about and that’s what we’re hoping Take Charge Ohio will do is to give good education to individuals.”
Why Do Doctors Need to Be Educated about Pain Relievers?
Many individuals still obtain opioid-based prescription drugs through their doctors every year. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and others can be prescribed for only a short time but could potentially still lead to problems for the user.
- Often, doctors prescribe narcotics like these without a need or without the patient truly understanding the effect of the drug. Doctors must understand the intensity of these medications and then educate their patients on the subject. If this does not occur, the individual could think the drug is harmless or safe to use at any time.
- In the past, doctors thought that patients were safe as long as they didn’t take these medications for too long. According to the National Library of Medicine, patients are normally encouraged not to take opioids for more than 3 to 4 months unless expressly necessary.
- However, we are starting to find out that these drugs can cause dependence and addiction much more quickly and that those who take them for even 7 days or longer have a significantly increased chance of becoming addicted at some point in the future.
The opioid crisis needs to be understood by everyone, especially those who are prescribing these drugs. This is why campaigns like Take Charge Ohio are looking to create fewer chances for people to become addicted when taking a doctor recommended medication.
Opioid Dependence and Treatment
Opioid dependence is a serious problem because even someone who starts out taking these drugs as prescribed by a doctor could turn to abuse after becoming dependent. Dependency can make an individual feel they cannot function without the drug, and if their prescription runs out, they might look for new ways to get more of the drug. They might even turn to illicit substances like heroin or illegally manufactured fentanyl.
In order to treat dependence, detox is a safe, effective program that weans patients off opioid drugs without forcing them to experience the painful symptoms of withdrawal without help. These programs provide medical assistance as well as medications and behavioral therapies to treat dependence.