Panelists break down local opioid crisis


The opioid epidemic is taking the lives of our neighbors. Their fates sealed by a drug coming from doctor's prescription pads.

Tonight NBC 15 brought together a panel of experts to talk about opioid addition.

"It's not the poor, it not the rich. It is all walks of life," emergency medicine specialist Dr. Richard Oyler said.

There's no gender, no race, no socioeconomic status immune to heroin and opioid addiction.

“You don't have to go to a bad area of town to get it (opioids) anymore, it is in any medicine cabinet," treatment specialist Tommie Whitten said.

According to the CDC, Alabama doctors write the most prescriptions for pain killers per person.

Starting in 2018, Dr. Oyler says doctors are required to take a course in opioid addiction in order to keep their license.

"Medicine needs to clean up its own house, we can be part of the problem," Dr. Oyler said.

The panelists say there's a correlation with the health of our community and the number of prescriptions being written and obesity is a factor in this matter. They say another factor is genetics.

Local drug education council director Virginia Guy says teens have a 47% chance of becoming addicted if they begin drinking before age 14. She says delaying their first drink or drug use until college can significantly diminish the risk of your child becoming addicted to opioids later in life.

To view the discussion click here

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, please contact the following:

Drug Education Council: 1-251-478-7855

Addiction Campuses 24/7 hotline: 1-888-614-2251

Tommie Whitten, treatment specialist for Addiction Campuses: 1-601-940-5831

Al-Anon: 1-888-425-2666

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP

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