Alabama doctors are writing more opioid prescriptions than any other state in our nation.
Opioid addiction is an epidemic facing the entire country, but in the South the number of opioid prescriptions being written by doctors is alarming.
“Any type of surgical procedure, pain medicines are given. Chronic pain patients are given opioids,” explained Lisa Shepard, Substance Abuse Director and LPN for QC Addiction to Wellness Center.
In a Harvard study for the most opioid prescriptions, every one of Alabama’s congressional districts ranked in the top 30 in the nation.
Unfortunately some patients handed opioid prescriptions become addicted. “Everybody responds differently to an opiate. If I take one it knocks me out, where there are some people who take an opiate it gives them energy, but most people that struggle with an addiction, it’s no longer about getting high or that energy feeling, it’s just about feeling normal for them,” Shepard said.
Health professionals say once patients become addicted it’s up to the health care system to provide patients with resources including counseling and nutrition.
“Our program is QC Addiction to Wellness, we look at the patient as a whole, we add the wellness aspect to it. We have a nutritionist here, we have our hormone replacement program that we do, we draw their blood and check and see if we can start making them feel better,” continued Shepard.
There’s also medication assisted treatment to cure the addiction. “They just came out with a 28 day injection, it’s on injection every 28 days, but it helps them. It cuts their cravings and it keeps them from withdrawing from opiates,” Shepard added.
Shepard said she has submitted a request Mayor Tommy Battle, to have September recognized as national recovery month to bring awareness of the resources available.