Education & Awareness
The negative social stigma surrounding addiction is a major obstacle to ending substance abuse disorders. Public perception also contributes to social isolation for those in recovery, which can worsen mental health and lead to suicide or relapse/overdose. Fortunately, society’s outdated view of addiction as a moral failing is slowly turning around.
We are moving toward a more realistic, humane view of addiction as a complex disease, one that can be effectively addressed with compassion and evidence-based treatment strategies. DMF is working with local communities and treatments centers in the NY, WV, and FL areas to educate families of those suffering from addiction about the negative impacts of stigma surrounding addiction and treatment.
In 2018, youths aged 18-25 made up the majority of new prescription drug abusers. National data show that nearly half of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who reported misusing pain relievers said they were given or bought them from a friend or relative. This number is over 50% for young adults ages 18 to 25. Youths who commit to doing well in school and finishing school are at a substantially lower risk of overdose.
Additionally, youth who have a strong bond with their parent and whose parents express disapproval of substance use have a lower risk of misuse. DMF is working with local PTAs, schools, and community centers in the NY, WV, and FL areas to educate students and parents about the opioid addiction crisis. By addressing the risks and dangers of opioid abuse and misuse at a young age, we can save lives.
The opioid epidemic is fueled by inadequate education about addiction and treatment. Prescribers continue to write out unsafe prescriptions to at-risk persons due to inaccurate claims about opioid safety from the pharmaceutical industry. Prescribers need increased education on how to thoroughly examine the risks and benefits of opioid use for each case and be sure to explore other options before administering a prescription.
Greater effort is need by both the system and individual prescribers to optimize patient care and treat patients who have pain – whether physical pain, psychological pain or a combination of both – without contributing to opioid misuse and abuse. DMF is working to improve provider awareness of opioid abuse risk and opioid prescribing guidelines to facilitate conversations with patients about alternative pain treatment options.
Naloxone is a non-addictive, life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time. While naloxone has saved countless lives through programs that equip medical first responders and law enforcement groups, it is also important for community members to be aware and equipped with life-saving naloxone administration kits.
This is particularly important in rural areas where EMS may take some time to arrive. DMF is working with PTAs, community centers, and treatment centers in NY, WV, and FL to help educate parents and community members about Naloxone and distribute free Naloxone kits. Naloxone is available without a prescription in many states, but few citizens are informed on how to obtain the medication or when it can be used to prevent overdose. Having Naloxone on hand can save a life. DMF is dedicated to making it more widely available in the communities we serve.