U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is traveling around the United States this week with a welcome initiative: additional funding for treatment programs for opioid and heroin abuse. It’s a national problem, and one with which law enforcement and entirely too many families in North Carolina are familiar.
Prescriptions for opioids for pain have exploded in the last 25 years and so has addiction to those drugs. Some who can’t get their prescriptions filled anymore turn to heroin, federal officials say.
Hence Lynch’s desire to get Congress to put more money into treatment. These abuses and addictions are no strangers to North Carolina, and the “side effects” of them are obvious, with families torn apart and some addicts turning to crime. Tonight, at the Pullen Park Community Center in Raleigh, there will be a community town hall on the crisis from 6 to 8 p.m.
Evidence of the abuse and potential abuse of the drugs is found in the increase in prescriptions, from 76 million in 1991 to 259 million in 2012. Part of the national effort to curb the problem is the education of children about the risks and to have doctors help with other caregivers to identify people who might be prone to abuse.