Crest Ink - Volume 30 - Number 02

Opioid Crisis by TJ Schoonover, M.S.Ed., LPC, NCC, Sinnissippi Centers

There has been a lot of talk about the opioid crisis in America over the last few years. How did we get here? What is causing the increase in the use of heroin and the increase in overdoses? This is a complex question with many different contributing factors. In the past 20 years the number of people who tried opioids has dramatically increased. One reason for this has been the over prescribing of pain medications such as; hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. These medications are prescribed for people who have recently had an injury, surgery, or chronic pain. Unfortunately, these medications are highly addictive. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 80% of heroin users report that they misused pain medication first. The misuse of pain medication is only one contributing factor to people who start using heroin. Another factor that is causing the rise in opioid use and overdoses is the use of Fentanyl. Fentanyl, a chemical that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, has been approved to be used by people with severe pain or cancer. Many people have decided to try to make this drug illegally and put it in heroin, making synthetic heroin. Accord- ing to the CDC in 2016 almost 20,000 opioid overdoses deaths were caused by Fentanyl. It is often made and put into heroin without the user knowing. Opioids are one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs. According to the CDC, on average 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose. From 2015 to 2016 Illinois saw a 35% increase in overdose deaths to a total of 2,411 deaths. Opioids are cheap, addictive, and dangerous. So what can you do if you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction? There are many treatment options for them. Sinnissippi Centers offers drug and alcohol counseling, as well as many other agencies in the Northern Illinois area. If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, please feel free to contact me. Making the first step is always the hardest, but there are options to feel better that you can do for your self or someone you care about. TJ is the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Counselor at Crest Foods. This free & confidential service is offered to employees on Tuesdays from 12:00pm - 4:00pm. Please give TJ a call (815-284-6611) to set up an appointment, or stop by during his office hours at the Ashton Clinic on Rte 38. Nurses Corner: Blood Pressure by Nurse Heidi McGlown, RN Do you know what your blood pressure is? High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because it puts you at high risk for heart attack and stroke. People often ask me what the numbers measure. The top number is called the systolic pressure- this is the pumping pressure in your arteries as your heart beats. The bottom number is called the diastolic pressure- this is the resting pressure in your arteries between beats. New guidelines were just released at the end of 2017. Normal blood pressure for adults is still below 120/80. Elevated blood pressure is between 120/80—130/80. High blood pressure is now 130/80—139/89. Readings a bove this is are considered very high and can be very dangerous! Regular exercise, limiting salt, reducing stress, weight loss, and limiting alcohol can all help to lower blood pressure. Your doctor may also prescribe medications. Stop in any time if you would like your blood pressure checked!

April, May & June 2018 Crest Ink 15

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