Dr. Kerry Hecox, Family Medicine Physician and director of the newly established nonprofit organization, Oasis Center of the Rogue Valley shared that the crisis actually started nationwide in the 1990s. MDs were prescribing opioid and opioid-combination medications for the treatment of pain. OxyContin was introduced in 1995 causing the number of prescriptions and addictions to skyrocket. By 2017, over 70,000 overdose deaths could be attributed to opioids nationwide. Locally, analysis of overdose rate data for 2018 revealed 48 deaths compared to nine in 2017 and 11 in 2016. Addiction is a complex disorder that essentially hijacks the reward center of the brain. Altered brain pathways do not recover quickly, so even if someone has quit using a drug for some time, they are still at a very high risk of relapse.
What is being done to combat the crisis?
- Medication assisted treatment (MAT) can be used to decrease cravings/improve physical withdrawal from opioids.
- <Monitoring of prescriptions allows physicians and pharmacists to see existing controlled substance prescriptions and decrease the ability to “doctor shop” for multiple prescriptions.
- Limits have been placed on the amount of opioids any one person can obtain.
- <Naloxone (Narcan), an opioid overdose reversal agent is widely available
- Jackson County Health Department offers a need exchange to help decrease disease spread by injection drug use and offer a point of engagement to drug treatment.
What is being done at Oasis Center?
- A safe, non-judgmental environment for patients
- Medical care for parents, children and affected family members
- Social and skill-building classes including infant massage, preschool play classes, and cooking
- A patient relaxation room with massage chair
- Linkages to child care
- Multidisciplinary Team for highest risk patients, with a team made up with a child protective services caseworker, a probation officer, self-sufficiency work, and substance abuse counselors
For more information, go to http://oasiscenterroguevalley.org/contact-us/