Opiate abuse is reaching epidemic levels across the nation. This troublesome trend has seen no boundaries, and impacts people of all education levels and socioeconomic statuses.

Addiction to Opiates, such as prescription painkillers, is gripping our nation. From coast to coast, agencies are doing their best to deal with this crisis, which has been labeled an epidemic. As state, local, and federal officials scramble to understand this growing trend, they have noted that addiction to this substance is widespread. Though many people like to associate drug abuse with inner cities and low-income individuals, addiction to painkillers has seen no such boundaries. As such, colleges across the country are grappling with the effects of this worrisome epidemic.

How Opioid Abuse Became an Epidemic

Across the nation, doctors and physicians have been prescribing painkillers at alarming rates. Anything from a toothache to a broken bone has been treated with these strong medications. In an effort to make patients comfortable, doctors have prescribed these pills en masse. Unfortunately, these pills were originally touted as a safe form of pain management. Throughout time, however, the strong addictive qualities of the painkillers proved problematic for many. What was once a simple prescription turned into an addiction.

Accordingly, many patients who became addicted to painkillers turned to the streets once their prescriptions ran out. Others took to a practice called “doctor shopping” in an effort to obtain Opiates from several different physicians. Unfortunately, as prescriptions become unavailable or too expensive on the streets, many turn to cheaper and more potent Opiates, such as Heroin. The deadly effects of this trend have since been sweeping the nation and have effected a diverse population.

Opiate Abuse at Indiana Colleges

Addiction to Opiates has seen no boundaries. People of all races, genders, education levels, and socioeconomic statuses have been impacted by the epidemic. College campuses across the nation have even been battling this lethal trend. While many universities are prepared to handle typical issues such as alcohol abuse or Marijuana use, many are ill equipped when it comes to Opiate abuse. This new trend has led many higher education institutions to create task forces to take on the growing epidemic.

One such solution that has been implemented across college campuses is education and prevention. Many strive to stop an addiction before it begins, hoping to stem the issue at its core. Now, along with standard information on the dangers of alcohol abuse, many colleges are providing students with information on prescription painkillers and Heroin abuse, as well. One important message is that of bystander intervention. Colleges are spreading the word that reporting an overdose can save the users life.

Many college campuses are also implementing the use of the life-saving drug Naloxone. This drug, also known as Narcan. is the antidote to an Opiate overdose. If administered soon enough, it can reverse the effects of Opiates. Many college police, emergency response teams, and on-campus health services are being trained in the use of Narcan.

The goal of these university task forces is to help students stay healthy in the midst of this Opiate crisis. Students who receive early prevention education, intervention, or treatment can continue their studies and become a productive member of the institution once again. Without some major change in the fight against Opioids, more college campuses across Indiana, and the nation, will be seeing deadly overdoses.

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