Like many states throughout the country, Ohio has been battling an opioid epidemic for several years and many victims of this epidemic are seeking treatment. With so many Ohioans seeking treatment, it is difficult for treatment facilities to make room for everyone who needs help. This is partly due to a 50-year-old federal rule that states community-based mental-health and addiction treatment centers can't receive Medicaid funding if their facility exceeds 16 beds. While it may not seem like a big deal to be put on a waitlist until a spot opens, this wait can be the difference between life and death for many of these addicts.
Middle-aged white women are at greatest risk.
It is a situation that happens far too often. A family member starts having chest pains. She tells her treating physician who thinks she has heartburn and he recommends taking some antacids. Some time passes and the chest pain persists. Doctors still have not identified the root cause and have instead tried to mask the pain by prescribing various painkillers. Sure, this helps mask the pain, but the underlying issue still exists. Fast-forward two months and this family member is now hospitalized. After a week of doctors in the hospital scratching their heads and pumping narcotics into her system, they finally requested a cardiology consult. The cardiologist comes in, identifies the problem, and finally places the patient on the correct cardiac medications. Unfortunately, it is to late as the damage to the heart is already done.
The prescription of opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, is a popular way for doctors to treat chronic non-malignant medical conditions, such as lower back pain. Recently, however, the effectiveness of such treatment has been called into question. A disturbing new trend reveals that there is actually very weak evidence that opioid painkillers are safe or effective for the long-term treatment of non-malignant pain. Moreover, these drugs are highly addictive and can produce significant states of depression and anxiety.