Addiction to opioid-based pain medications is an ever-increasing problem in communities around the country, and Yadkin County is not immune to the problem. Deputy Sharon Diaz of the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office recently lead a Lunch and Learn to educate community health and education workers on the epidemic. The event was hosted by Yadkin Smart Start and NetWorx.
Diaz has been presenting the program on opioid-based drugs at schools as well as area churches and hopes to continue sharing the information in the community.
In addition to a video produced by the FBI about prescription pain pill addiction and the problems it can lead to, Diaz also shares detailed statistics on the opioid drug problem during the presentation. It’s important information for the community to be aware of, she said.
One of the most dangerous aspects of the opioid drug problem is that addiction can begin from a legitimate need for pain medication prescribed by a doctor. During her presentation, Diaz suggested to participants that they ask questions of their doctors when being prescribed medications.
“Ask them, is this is narcotic? Is this an opioid? And if it is, you can say no,” Diaz cautioned. “There are alternatives.”
Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle is also something she suggested as a way to avoid potential injuries or health problems that could lead to a need for pain medication.
Keeping medications in a safe place in the home where those who do not need the medication cannot access it, is another important safety measure Diaz recommended. She also recommended properly disposing of any unused prescription pain killers. A drop box is located at the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office where residents can dispose of unused medications. Diaz said to remove the label from the outside of the bottle and add a small amount of water to dilute the pills before bringing them to the drop box.
Diaz did speak briefly about the increase in crime that has resulted from the opioid drug problem as some of those facing the addiction may resort to home break-ins for the purpose of finding prescription medications. She said unfortunately arresting individuals facing opioid addiction does nothing to solve the problem and many continue to feed their addiction once they are out of jail.
Educating individuals and the community at large about the dangers of prescription opioid drugs is just a start in the battle, but one Diaz hopes will make a difference.
For more information or to schedule a community education event for a group or church on the topic of opioid drug abuse, contact the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office at 336-679-4217.