On April 2, Kathleen Errico of Haverhill woke up at 3:45a.m. To find that her 23-year-old daughter, Kelsey Endicott, had lost her life due to a heroin overdose. Kelsey leaves behind her family and a son, whose second birthday is soon approaching. Ms. Errico shares that her daughter, “turned to drugs to make her feel normal,” and that Kelsey wasn’t aware of how heroin, “would devastate her family and tear it apart, how it would take her job and leave her penniless, or how it would steal her son from her arms.” Kelsey’s son now lives with Ms. Errico (MacQuarrie and Farragher). Unfortunately, cases such as Kelsey’s are becoming increasingly common in Massachusetts, calling for a much-needed resolution to the opioid epidemic.
Drugs contributing to the opioid epidemic include heroin as well as prescription painkillers such as morphine, hydrocodone, codeine, oxycodone, and fentanyl (“Opioid Addiction”). In Massachusetts, the number of opioid-related hospital visits has roughly doubled from 2007 to 2014, with 31,000 visits in 2007 rising to a staggering 57,000 visits in 2014 (Freyer). A notable increase can also be seen in the number of opioid-related fatalities in the state. The year 2000 ended with a total of 338 unintentional fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts (“United States”). The number of opioid-related deaths has continued to rise each year with 561 fatalities in 2008, 603 fatalities in 2011, 668 fatalities in 2012, 911 fatalities in 2013, and 1,099 fatalities in 2014 (“United States”). This data represents a 21% increase in the number of unintentional fatal opioid overdoses from the year 2013 to 2014...
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...been passed in Massachusetts that aims to prevent the misuse of opioid painkillers. This bill limits a seven-day supply of medication for initial opioid prescriptions in the state (Miller). By doing so, the bill would help decrease the number of opioid painkillers in circulation throughout the public. A decrease in availability of opioids would help to prevent the start of opioid abuse among individuals. Although the bill could reduce the start of opioid abuse, it would not prevent those who are already addicted to opioids from seeking more medication. Individuals that are already addicted to opioids may turn to heroin when supplies of other opioid painkillers are cut short. A mass media campaign would better serve in preventing opioid abuse, as it would target those already affected by opioid abuse, those at risk for being affected, and the general public.
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