Opioid abuse rises in Indiana

By Jaelin Engle
News Editor

When it comes to drug abuse, opioids tend to be at the top of the list for the state of Indiana. According to drugabuse.gov, opioids cause around 115 deaths daily in the U.S. alone.

WCHS Basketball coach and health teacher Kyle Shipp explains how these drugs help others along with the dangers it may cause.

“Opioids are a class of drugs which include prescription pain relievers, like codeine, and an illegal drug like heroin. When used properly, prescription opioids can be helpful with pain-relief, cough suppression and antidiarrheal medications. The danger, however, is that opioids carry a high potential for abuse, dependence and addiction,” Shipp said.

Opioids are extremely potent and common drugs of which many doctors prescribe to patients experiencing chronic pain and/or severe anxiety and panic attacks. Shipp described how these drugs can affect the abuser mentally and physically.

“In a pretty short order, continued opioid abuse will cause more significant cognitive, cardiovascular and respiratory concerns,” Shipp said. “Opioid abuse interferes with your ability to process information. You’ll experience deficits in cognitive ability resulting in memory loss, confusion and an overall dulling of your mind.,” Shipp said.

Tina Robinson, a registered nurse from the Franciscan Health Center in southern Indianapolis, went into detail regarding withdrawals of these drugs in addicted opioid users.

“When it comes to the head, withdrawals may cause dizzy spells, intense headaches, behavioral issues, an intensified feeling of anxiety or depression and it may also cause hallucinations. An abuser going through withdrawal may also experience fatigue, nausea, stomach pains, night sweats, and possibly seizures,” Robinson said.

Drug abuse has had a steady increase all over the country for years. According to drugabuse.gov, in response to the crisis of drug abuse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been focusing on improving access to treatment and recovery centers as part of efforts to strengthen the understanding of drug and opioid abuse through better public health surveillance and advancing to better practices for pain management.

Since drug abuse is an exceedingly serious subject, the school must follow strict protocol when allegations occur. Dean of students Brent Holman explained how the school investigates a drug allegation.

“If there are witnesses or there is behavior that has been observed that may be attributed to being under the influence then that provides us with reasonable suspension,” Holman said. “At that point, we may go on multiple reports or go through teacher or witness reports and we get with the accused student immediately. After this we do what’s called a reasonable suspicion search to see if they have any substance or paraphernalia contributed to that type of behavior on their person. At that point, we either clear them or we confirm that it was a legitimate report.”

Drug abuse and drug addiction is a serious matter. If there is anyone struggling with drug or opioid addiction or a witness sees another going through drug abuse, please inform an adult immediately or call the drug abuse hotline at 1-877-879-2013 or visit drugabuse.com.

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