Tragic stories of loss at the hands of opioids have become all too common. The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, has become an epidemic. It is a massive problem impacting our friends, families, communities, and the workforce.
Every day, 91 Americans die from opioid overdose. A study by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports 12.5 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2015 and 33,091 people died from overdosing on these medications. In Indiana alone, more than 1 in 20 people report having engaged in nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers. And as the Indy Star shares, “The number of Hoosiers who have died from drug poisoning has increased 500 percent since 1999. More people now die in Indiana from drug poisoning than in car accidents.”
This isn’t just a public health issue. It is more pervasive. There’s no clear answer, no single solution. It will require a collaborative effort to address. Fortunately, we’ve started to see the epidemic being discussed at the local, state, and national stage, but there’s still a long way to go.
What can be done right now to help keep your family and workforce safe? You can talk about the issue and share stories of its impact. Stories like that of the Savage family from Granger, Indiana. With permission, we’re sharing their story about how they lost their two oldest sons to a combination of alcohol and a prescription opioid.
They have since created the 525 Foundation to raise awareness. The goal is to prevent another family from having to endure their pain. Through outreach, education, and support, they are actively working to put an end to this epidemic.
We can all take a page out of their book. Let’s encourage families, schools, and employers to help prevent more tragedy by starting conversations and getting educated to support the fight against this terrible epidemic.