There is not one easy solution to the opioid abuse epidemic. It’s a complex issue that requires stakeholders across government, the healthcare supply chain, public health, prevention and healthcare communities working together to provide patients, families and communities with information and tools to address the crisis.
In 2016, there were 144 opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County, a 31 percent increase from the year before, according to county officials. The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has launched a year-long campaign to raise awareness about the Opioid Crisis and to get people involved in the solution. It is a NO BLAME, NO SHAME campaign, designed to bring people together.
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On March 20th, 2017, in collaboration with the Sheriff's Office, PARTNERS for Healthy Kids, Parenting with Vision, and Partners in Prevention, Wayzata Public Schools hosted the #NOverdose kick-off town hall meeting. A panel of experts gathered to share information with community members and to engage people in all aspects of the epidemic, from prevention and education to intervention, treatment and recovery.
6 Things You Can Do to be a Part of the Solution
Lock up and monitor prescription medications: most abusers get their prescription drugs from friends and family. Don't leave prescription medications in an accessible place for your loved ones and guests.
Properly dispose of unused prescriptions: most of the time, you will not need the entire prescription as you've been prescribed. Find a drop-off location to safely dispose of unused meds.
Look for symptoms of abuse: trust your instinct. If it seems like your loved one's behavior has changed, it probably has. A few initial signs of a problem include: lying/being secretive, changes in personality/mood, sleeping more than normal, needing money/missing money/stealing, and physical changes in appearance and/or weight.
Intervene EARLY: Try not to wait until the problem hits rock bottom to get help. Part of the #NOverdose campaign encourages NO SHAME. Addition is a disease and needs to be treated as one. Click here and follow instructions to receive a wonderful, electronic Intervention Handbook for parents.
Take a strong stand against alcohol, marijuana and drug use: Parents remain one of the strongest influences in teenagers' decisions NOT to use alcohol or drugs. Kids are more likely to refrain from use if their parents make their expectations clear.
Join a coalition: We are all affected by drugs and alcohol in one way, shape or form. We encourage you to get involved with a local coalition, attend a meeting and see how you can promote prevention and be a part of the solution.