Several of Alabama’s government heads have announced their plan for fighting the opioid epidemic currently gripping the state.
The Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council issued its report and action plan last week to find solutions to the state’s opioid crisis.
The council is recommending several priorities including revamping the state’s prescription monitoring system, implementing programs to get addicts into treatment instead of jails and prisons, and also widely expanding access to naloxone. That’s a medication that can block the effects of opioids and prevent an overdose.
Lynn Beshear is the Commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Mental Health. She says it’s hard to overstate how important it is to have naloxone handy.
“If a person is not breathing, and they are going to die, in order to move this person towards recovery, the first thing you have to do is save their life. I mean, that’s just fundamental. A person has to be alive in order for us to be able to help them.”
Beshear says there are currently more active prescriptions for opioids in Alabama than there are residents in the state.