The 2016 Opiate Conference is Now Underway
Ohio’s 2016 Opiate Conference is in its second day, bringing together professionals from across the country to learn about the opiate epidemic, specifically Ohio’s, and develop ideas and solutions to combat the issue and save lives.
A light is being shined on Ohio, and unfortunately, it isn’t a positive one. At the end of 2015 Ohio ranked second in drug overdose deaths nationwide, with heroin and prescription painkillers contributing to the most deaths. The numbers are shocking, growing, and each number is a mom, dad, brother, daughter, and loved one.
Women Are a Part of the Epidemic
Women are a growing part of the epidemic. In the U.S., life expectancies for women is on a slight decline, and experts attribute this to younger and middle-aged women dying at higher rates from drug overdoses. A disturbing trend is emerging on opiate-addicted mothers and babies – children being born with an opiate addiction due to their mother’s use while she was pregnant.
On Monday, a former opiate addict, Kelly Clixby, spoke to a crowd of nearly 1,000 at the 2016 Conference with a message of hope, love, and possibility. Clixby, 38, had at one time sacrificed everything for her addiction and ended up losing custody of her children, getting a divorce, and losing her job. Basically, her life crumbled.
Today, Clixby has been clean since December 13, 2014, and she credits all the professional help she got along the way – group therapy, one-on-one counseling, medication, and rehabilitation. While staying clean is a daily struggle, she has been able to rebuild her life and get back on the road to a good life. Messages like these offer hope to those invested in trying to combat the existing crisis in Ohio and nationwide.
Drug Overdose is No. 1 Cause of Death
Drug overdoses are currently Ohio’s No. 1 cause of accidental death. This is higher than the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents and is more than 5 deaths per day. To give you an idea of the growth, in 2000 there were 411 overdose deaths in Ohio, and in 2012, there were 1914, a 366% increase.
Events like the 2016 Opiate Conference are designed to help put a stop to this rapid growth in a situation that’s often described as one step forward, two steps back. This year’s conference is aptly titled: “Advancing Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery.” As people and families affected by the epidemic will tell you, it’s an individual, family, and community disease. No one is immune, and everyone needs to be on board to eliminate the issue at hand.