Healthcare professionals in Wichita, Kansas are expanding addiction treatment to combat rising heroin overdose rates. Heroin has become the leading cause of death among teens and adults in the state, surpassing methamphetamine and prescription opioid overdoses.
According to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, automobile collision deaths and synthetic opioid overdose deaths rates in Kansas were even in 2014, but they have since declined.
Despite this trend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that state medical practitioners prescribe opioid painkillers to approximately 86 percent of patients. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, noted that there is a rising correlation between prescription opioid sales and deaths. Until the sales of oxycodone and other painkillers are regulated, he explained, Kansas’ opioid crisis cannot be contained.
Even more alarming is how heroin-related deaths in Kansas have doubled in the past year, the CDC published in recent studies.
Theses numbers prompted the Kansas Institute of Health to invite state and national researchers to lead a symposium last August. Their goal was to determine alternatives to opioid-based medications and expand treatment options to help its population. They highlighted that the opioid crisis is greatly affecting Kansas’ non-Hispanic Caucasian demographic.
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