There is a growing number of deaths from the misuse of Opioids in Tennessee. According to the Johnson City Press, about 1, 300 persons died in Tennessee from opioids in 2017. The article also notes that Northeast Tennessee is one of the epidemic’s “hardest hit” regions in the United States.  In fact, the state of Tennessee in 2017, ranks first as the state that records the highest sales of opioids in the United States with “44.3 kilograms of opioids per 100,000 residents.”

What are Opioids?

John Hopkins Medicine describes that opioids are prescription drugs often known as pain killers or street drugs. On the one hand, prescription drugs are medications bought at the pharmacy based on a doctor’s prescription. These kinds of drugs are not regarded as regular drugs because they contain narcotics. Examples of prescribed painkillers are tramadol, dilaudid, fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine and more. Prescribed opioids are used to treat severe pains such as headaches, back pains, joint pains and more. On the other hand, street drugs are hard drugs that individuals illegally consume. Example of street drugs in the opioid’s category are heroin, cocaine, morphine, and more. These street drugs are also narcotics. Also, opioids drugs can either be taken as a pill, also as lozenges and lollipops, or be injected. Although, street drugs can either be injected, smoked, or snorted. John Hopkins Medicine notes that the misuse of opioids affects the brain and it causes high tolerance and excessive dependence, which could lead to addiction.

Emphatically, opioid addiction emanates from excessive misuse of drugs or an overdose use of drugs. Misuse of opioids was thought to be common among the elderly, teenagers, pregnant women, and ex-convicts, but now we see that it affects all demographics. From the athlete who got addicted after an injury, to the businessman who had back pain, and decided that he can’t live without them. Opioids affect everyone.  Although, those who use prescription opioids such as Hepatitis B, cancer, and HIV/AIDS patients do not get addicted intentionally. At times their pains make them vulnerable to opioids overdose and addiction.

In Northeast Tennessee, opioids have left many children orphaned. Wjhl.com reports that parental rights loss rose from 51 percent to 56 percent in 2010; this caused an increase in the number of children in foster care homes in Northeast Tennessee. WJHL notes further that about 800 children across the 8 counties in Northeast Tennessee are either in the foster care system or full guardianship.  More so, studies have shown that there is a correlation between drug use and displaced families. In 2017, 1 in 3 children entered the U.S foster care system because of parental drug abuse.

What Causes Opioids Addiction and Misuse?

  • Unbearable Pain
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Hereditary – addict parent can lead their children to be addicts
  • Peer group influence
  • Alcohol addiction

How to Come Out of Opioids Addictions

  • Seek therapy from licenced professionals.
  • Doctors should educate patients about the dangers of overdose.
  • Families should support addicts by educating them about resources and by showing them love and care.
  • Find an accountability network/group to help you reach your goal of being healthy and free.

Good Samaritan Ministries and its Effort to Put An End to Opioids Epidemic

Good Samaritan Ministries is actively combating the opioid crisis in our community. Our Social Work team and Counseling Services offer support to individuals battling with addiction and drug overdose who might not be able to afford other mainline services. We believe that the materially poor need the best services just like any other socio-economic bracket. Additionally, through partnerships with local organizations, Good Sam social workers are able to refer people to highly trained practitioners (therapists, doctors, etc.) in the region.

Join us, in combating opioids addiction by:

A healthy community leads to a better humanity. Let’s end poverty today!

Image Credit: John Hopkins Medicine