Opioids, specifically prescription opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine and morphine) are traditionally used to relieve pain. While many people benefit from proper usage of prescription opioids, many develop a tolerance to them, resulting in misuse (taking more than prescribed or without a doctor’s prescription). An increased tolerance without supply of the prescribed drug may result in the individual seeking substitutes such as heroin. Regular use of opiates—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths. An opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away.
Successful Advocacy Efforts:
Georgia’s Medical Amnesty Law: Don’t Run – Call 911!
Georgia’s Medical Amnesty Law protects victims & callers seeking medical assistance at drug or alcohol overdose scenes.
The caller and the victim cannot be arrested, charged, or prosecuted for small amounts of drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia if the evidence was obtained as a result of seeking medical assistance.
For more information visit http://www.georgiaoverdoseprevention.org/
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
In 2016 HB 900 overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly. HB 900 improved Georgia’s PDMP is several ways:
- Allows for prescribers and dispensers to have “delegates,” authorized persons in the doctor’s office or the pharmacy that can assist the doctor or pharmacist with PDMP data entry and with checking the PDMP before prescribing or dispensing.
- Allows for greater access for the purposes of research, grant proposal opportunities, and Rx drug abuse prevention education.
- Allows for greater access for law enforcement.
- Also, due to passed legislation, the PDMP has the legal authority to engage in data sharing with other states (interoperability). Such interstate data sharing began in summer of 2016 between a network of 28 states.
Ways YOU Can Advocate for the Prevention of Opioid Misuse:
Statewide advocacy strategies include campaigning for:
- Mandatory prescriber education
- Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
- Increased access to naloxone
- Availability of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
Community advocacy strategies include:
- Educating friends, family and colleagues about proper security and disposal of prescription drugs
- Hosting prescription drug take back days or marketing national and local take back days
- Increasing local take back locations/drug drop boxes