Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week begins

President Barack Obama on Friday made a proclamation establishing September 18-24 as National Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – President Barack Obama on Friday made a proclamation establishing September 18-24 as National Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

Each year, more Americans die from drug overdoses than in traffic accidents, and more than three out of five of these deaths involve an opioid, the proclamation stated.

Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers, heroin, and fentanyl, has nearly quadrupled.

According to the proclamation, the stigma and “misconceptions” surrounding opioid use disorder or other substance use disorder, has contributed to “harmful” stigmas that prevent individuals from seeking treatment, the President wrote.

Obama is calling on Congress to approve $1.1 billion in spending to battle the heroin epidemic in the U.S. The money will be earmarked to expand access to treatment services for opioid use disorder, increase access to naloxone (brand name Narcan) – the overdose reversal drug. The money will also be used to improve opioid prescribing practices and support targeted enforcement activities.

The heroin epidemic has plagued communities across the Valley. Trumbull County has seen a record number of overdose cases, while naloxone is being used in increasing numbers. Child services agencies are being inundated with caseloads involving drug abuse where parenting of children is being impacted.

Just recently, a grandmother and her boyfriend made national headlines after images of them unconscious inside an SUV in East Liverpool were posted to social media. And in Trumbull County, a Farmdale woman was recently given 16 doses of Narcan to revive her.

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