Nationally, the CDC has labeled the opioid drug problem an epidemic, and warns of the dangers from both prescription opioids and heroin. But how relevant is the problem in Loudoun County?
From 2010 to 2015, over 80 people in the Loudoun County overdosed and 20 died as a result. What’s most startling, however, is that over half of those deaths – 11 of the 20 – happened in one year (2014). And the numbers have only gotten worse.
Near the end of 2016, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman reported that of the 19 overdose deaths so far that year 14 of them were opioid-related.
A Changing Demographic for Addictions
While the word “addict” may conjure up images of the less-fortunate in low income areas of the country, data from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that opioid addiction is particularly common in “white men and women in their late 20s living outside of large urban areas.” There is also an alarming increase in opioid addiction among affluent teenagers.
Parents must be especially vigilant because young people often first gain access to opioids through their parents’ medicine cabinets. According to a report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, it’s common for people to share their unused pain relief medication without understanding the dangers of nonmedical opioid use, and teenagers who misuse the prescription drugs are most likely to acquire them from a friend or relative for free.
Loudoun County resident Nick Yacoub became addicted to prescription drugs at the age of ten, and later moved on to heroin, is one of the lucky few who eventually got the help he needed to recover. He now works to spread the word about the dangers of opioid addiction and support those seeking help.
Loudoun County Strikes Back Against Opioid Addiction
In response to the opioid overdose epidemic, Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies now carry naloxone, a drug that can be administered in an emergency to potentially prevent an opioid overdose from being fatal. According to a quote by Sheriff Chapman, deputies administered naloxone 13 times in 2016 and brought people back to consciousness in 10 of those cases. However, the drug is expensive and was made possible initially through a $350,000 grant, according to the LCSO website.
Equipping sheriff’s deputies with naloxone is part of a larger initiative by the sheriff’s office to combat the opioid addiction through education and community awareness.
A Heroin Operations Team has been created in Loudoun County with the goal of preventing more overdose deaths in the area. They make visits to local high schools to educate students on the truths of opioid and heroin addiction.
The Virginia Prescriptive Monitoring Program was created to prevent doctor shopping by patients abusing prescription drugs. However, it caused a crisis for many people who went from prescription opioid addiction to full-on heroin addiction – with no help or recourse.
Quick Action Is Essential to Prevent Long-Term Harm
Because opioids – especially heroin – are intensely addictive and overdose is an ever-present possibility, immediate professional intervention and treatment is essential if you or a loved one is addicted to either prescription opioids or heroin.
Simply quitting – which is nearly impossible anyway – is not safe. Treating an opioid addiction should be done in a qualified treatment facility that is appropriately equipped to help people overcome their addiction as safely and comfortably as possible.
The Dunes East Hampton provides the highest level of care available, combining the best traditional treatment methods with cutting-edge holistic practices in a comfortable resort-style setting. Guests at The Dunes enjoy discrete and compassionate care without being completely cut off from family and work.