As a public, we need to recognize the very real and very dangerous opioid crisis that this country faces. In the Midwest alone, emergency rooms have seen a 66 percent jump in visits related to opioid overdoses. That number could be even worse, experts say. It’s quite possible that it’ll be higher because sometimes, people who have overdosed don’t even make it to the emergency room.

With such staggering numbers and an administration in the White House that has declared the epidemic an emergency, one would think that funding would be made available to help combat the epidemic. There has been a lot of talk within Congress and the supporting members about ways to help fight this epidemic but no action has truly been taken. Experts have equated this inaction to someone seeing a burning building on fire, shouting that there is a fire, but not actually calling the fire department and simply watching the building burn.

There are new forms of opioids entering the country every day and they are much more powerful than the opioids that were being abused even as recent as five years ago. Fentanyl seems to be the choice opioid that people are experiencing overdoses on. The Fentanyl that is being used today has a much smaller margin when it comes to the danger of overdosing and people that use it aren’t aware of this smaller margin or even what drug they have.

Rather than sending patients home from the hospital after reviving them from an overdose, emergency room nurses and doctors should be trained further on how to handle those situations. They should be offering to follow up after the patients visit to see if there’s any help they can provide in regards to treatment options. By allowing patients to simply leave the hospital without letting them know what options are available for treatment, the addition and abuse cycle continues.

The opioid crisis is something that can be fought but we have to have a government that is willing to do something about it. Complacency within the government and a lack of transparency at the state and federal levels will only make the crisis work. For more information on government transparency, please visit my site