At a press conference on Thursday, June 23, the Female Opioid-addiction Research and Clinical Experts (FORCE), an all-female non-profit task force, announced emerging efforts to increase access to treatment and reduce the stigma surrounding drug abuse (a stigma which they claim takes the lives of 7,000 women per year).
More Treatment is Needed
Testimony from medical professionals at the press conference reaffirmed that Narcan, while beneficial, isn’t the same thing as treatment, and we need to be increasing options for long-term outpatient treatment for the countless opiate addicts coming through the system. As beautifully quoted in this Washington Post article, one doctor at the press conference said, “When we see opioid deaths, we see untreated dependence for use disorders. What we see in terms of the deaths is really being driven by a system that has decided to deal with opioid abuse disorders by resurrecting someone from an overdose death and then sending that person back out to their previous life without a treatment intervention.”
While the FORCE members acknowledged that progress has been made with both the medical and legal attitude towards addiction, their goals are to end policies that criminalize addicts and discourage medical professionals from encouraging or enabling treatment opportunities. They want to specifically address abuse among women, in part due to women’s unique set of challenges when it comes to addiction, and to be able to direct prevention and education efforts at women based on their caretaking role in most families. Further, women occupy a significant portion of the ever-present opiate epidemic. Female opiate addicts have gone up over 500% over the last 15 years, and those numbers are continuing to rise. Women have been shown to suffer more from chronic pain (leading to a higher likelihood of painkiller abuse), and may be at an increased risk for dependence.
If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, Serenity Acres can help- call us today at 1-800-203-2024 for your free, confidential assessment.