Hate to break it to you, but the opioid crisis isn’t going away.
It’s not some passing storm but a sinkhole, one that grows larger every day.
Seventy-eight Americans died every day in 2014 from an opioid overdose, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2015, almost 6.5 million Americans used heroin or abused prescribed pain-relief medication, says a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report.
Earlier this month, the Surgeon General released a landmark report detailing the opioid problem and substance use disorder.
“Its aim is to galvanize the public, policymakers, and health care systems to make the most of these new opportunities so that the individual and public health consequences associated with alcohol and drug misuse can be addressed effectively,” says The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.
Then why does Texas seem to be dragging its heels?
No reason has surfaced for why officials decided not to pursue the grant, and the state’s opioid crisis is without the much-needed drug.
Naloxone reverses the effects of opiate overdose. If administered quickly, it can save a life.
Walgreens offers naloxone without a prescription at all its Texas pharmacies, along with safe medication disposal kiosks in multiple locations.
The drug has helped lower the number of opioid deaths nationwide, so it’s baffling that Texas would drop the ball on such an important opportunity.
A DSHS spokesman told The Texas Tribune that grant writers and the agency didn’t have a submittable application by the deadline. Some of the contributors said the grant was completed but not approved.
Regardless of the blame, the inaction stymies efforts for the state to get a foothold on this crisis.
Only one related bill, an allowance for emergency personnel to use naloxone, has become law, and no similar bills had been filed for the 2017 legislative session as of Wednesday.
That is disheartening. We have much work to do.