Opioid Epidemic Infects Eastern Shore

The Eastern Shore continues to endure a massive “opioid epidemic” leaving many dead in its wake.

The United States is witnessing the destruction brought on by the opioid epidemic, especially in the state of Maryland. The state’s governor, Larry Hogan, has recognized this and has taken action to solve this problem.

On March 1st, 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency regarding the ravenous overuse of opioids in the state. With the signing of this executive order, Hogan also allotted $50 million to help combat the health crisis. Hogan promises to provide better and more affordable treatment to those afflicted by the substance, while also striving to prevent others from becoming caught up in the opioid tidal wave that is hitting the state.

Maryland is one of the states most affected by the opioid epidemic, actually having fifth-highest opioid related death rate among the 50 states. Many fear that if the state government does not take action, the death rate will inevitably increase, affecting families across the state.

The opioid epidemic has ravaged every part of the state, but has been particularly damaging to the predominantly rural Eastern Shore. With apathy and routine being all too common on the Shore, many turn to opioids to simply pass the time, becoming addicted to the dangerous substance in the process. Hogan has not particularly focused on the Eastern Shore, but his efforts should make the Shore a primary beneficiary of the executive actions he has taken.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services states that the country is suffering from a “prescription opioid overdose epidemic.” Within the last five years, deaths due to opioid abuse have drastically increased across the nation, ensuring that “epidemic” is an appropriate word choice for the problem.

The main cause for the opioid epidemic is our health care system’s overuse of the substance. Various medications and pharmaceuticals containing the addictive chemical are prescribed much too often, leading to communities being flooded with excessive amounts of the pain-ridding substance. Furthermore, the illicit opioid-containing heroin has become easier and cheaper to make and distribute, prolonging the process started by our health care system.

Opioids are chemical substances that reduce pain for the user. Many painkillers and prescription drugs contain various opioids. Opioids are also found in illicit drugs, the most common of which being the aforementioned heroin.

Many opioid addicts first become addicted to the substance through prescription medications, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. However, many addicts turn to illicit opioids such as heroin because it’s cheaper and more accessible.

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