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MHSA | Understanding the Opioid Crisis
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The Alabama Department of Mental Health has put together vital resources to help persons suffering from addiction, family members, providers and professionals find needed information.

The opioid crisis is a public health and economic crisis that is eroding the quality of life for Alabama residents. People are dying and families are being devastated. It impacts every sector of our economy, including healthcare, education, business, and local governments. The opioid crisis recognizes no neighborhood, no race, and no class. It is neither limited to backstreets in urban settings nor isolated in rural communities.

From 2006 through 2014 there were 5,128 deaths from overdoses in Alabama. The state’s death rate per 100,000 in 2014 was 14.9. The number of overdose deaths climbed 82 percent from 2006 to 2014. In 2016 there were 741 overdose deaths attributed to the increase of 15.3 deaths per 100,000. The overdose deaths are not limited to opioids, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated prescription opioids and heroin account for most drug deaths.

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin as well as prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl. These drugs work by binding to the body’s opioid receptors in the reward center of the brain, diminishing pain as well as producing feelings of relaxation and euphoria.

In 2012 Alabama was first place in the nation for per capita opioid prescriptions with 143.8 prescriptions per 100 residents. While the rate per capita is decreasing each year in Alabama, the state was still the highest per capita opioid prescribing state in 2016 with a rate of 121 prescriptions per 100 persons, which is equivalent to 1.2 prescriptions for every man, woman and child in our state.

What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic
Today’ Heroin Epidemic
Facing Addiction in America, The Surgeon General’s Spotlight
President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

The Alabama Department of Mental Health has put together this extensive page of resources to help persons suffering from addiction, family members, providers and professionals find the needed information with one click of the mouse.

About Opioids Health Care Providers Take Back Locations
Overdose and Addiction Council Grants to Combat Opioids Finding Help
Drug Monitoring Overdose Toolkit
Living With Chronic Pain Standing Order for Naloxone Frequently Asked Questions
Teen Drug Abuse Provider Toolkit Family and Friends
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