Prescription painkillers and opium derivatives pose a real threat to communities. Long Island is certainly not safe from the addiction epidemic that is currently sweeping the nation.

In fact, these highly addictive substances are such a public health risk that the New York State Department of Health subsidizes anti-overdose medication. This medication is available in various formats, such as nasal spray, in pharmacies across the state with a co-pay assistance program.

Prevention

One of the most important steps in curtailing the negative consequences of addiction is noticing the problem early. Unfortunately, these powerful substances could affect anybody. Anyone who takes pain medication could be at risk of developing serious addiction. Controlling risk factors and identifying problem behavior could prevent dependence.

Mitigation

Many public and personal measures exist to minimize the negative effects of addiction and help people recover. For example, New York City has a number of action plans and resources readily available online for anyone interested in making a difference.

Many of these resources primarily target doctors, but those without advanced medical knowledge could make use of the patient-targeted materials. In short, anyone motivated to help loved ones could benefit from this knowledge.

Recovery

Besides serious health problems, chemical dependency could potentially lead to legal problems. It is legal to possess prescription painkillers under a doctor’s orders, but, unfortunately, many turn to illegal substances once these prescriptions expire.

Understanding the depth of addiction and the serious health threats it poses are critical starting points to healing individuals and communities. Opioids have the power to ruin futures, but measures exist to minimize damage and maximize the chance of recovery.