Lucas County sees increase in painkiller addiction

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - In the last 5 years, Lucas County has seen a 155 percent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for painkiller addiction, which is why experts in drug prevention gathered today to discuss how to prevent abuse.

Lucas County hosted a town hall meeting on how to halt the spread of prescription painkiller addiction Thursday.

State officials say there has been a 1,000 percent increase in addiction over the last 13 years. The number of overdose deaths has also skyrocketed.

"They're legal pills. They should be safe in appropriate doses for a short period of time and are safe. But these are not pills that should be taken for months at a time," said Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

Doctors may be, in part, responsible for painkiller addiction, which is why new prescription guidelines were just announced in Ohio for emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

"We have to have better education about addiction. And in our medical schools, addiction is usually an elective. Physicians don't have training on addictions issues," said Frohnapfel-Hasson.

Locally, more treatment options are being offered to help addicts kick their habit. There are also occasional drives to get residents to empty out their medicine cabinets.

"We also have drop-off days where you can take your excess medication instead of leaving them out at home. Can be dropped off in a safe and secure manner," said Scott Sylak of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County.

help from the mental health and recovery services board of Lucas County. Call (419) 213-4600.

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