YUMA, Ariz. – President Obama wants the nation to remember the victims of opioid overdoses and declared this week ‘Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemics Awareness Week’ to raise awareness about the dangers of those drugs. He says the number of deadly overdoses from those drugs has almost quadrupled in the past 17-years.
The dangers of prescription opioids and heroin are present throughout the country, and can be seen locally as well.
“If a person had an idea of what hell would be like, this would probably be it,” says John Moffett, P.A. at the Yuma Regional Medical Center. Moffett works in the E.R. and sees what he describes as “hell” and its repercussions firsthand every day. “In every way these people are just affected by these poisons—spiritually, morally, physically, and financially. It’s just horrible.”
Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemics Awareness Week brings light to these horrible effects and encourages users to seek the help that they need.
“They just don’t know how to or where to turn to ask for help,” explains Lyle Lippel of Crossroads Mission in Yuma. “They just feel like there’s no reason to go on when society look at them as being second. We’re not second people. We all deserve a second chance.”
Second chances are exactly what Crossroads Mission and other local emergency organizations aim to provide.
“Help people get back on their feet and back into the community is what we’re trying to do here,” stresses Barbara Rochester of Crossroads Mission.
As the number of heroin and opioid abuse cases have drastically risen across the country and Moffett says that he sees these these numbers increase locally as well, and that it’s affecting emergency care.
“If there’s an overwhelming situation with people that are high or ill with illnesses related to their drug use or addiction, then we can’t pay attention to the man having a heart attack or the child with appendicitis,” stresses Moffett.
The effects of these drugs are numerous, and Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemics Awareness Week ultimately aims for people to drop the stigma and seek the help that they need.
“People look at them as ‘throw aways’, you know, that they’re less than, and they’re not,” expresses Lippel.
Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemics Awareness Week is going on now until September 24.