The opioid crisis has long been in the news for its impact on communities around the country. Here in Colorado, a recent study on methadone users showed that 70% of those addicted to heroin began with prescription drugs.
On Monday November 6th, the Parent Engagement Network of the Boulder Valley School District, hosts an information evening for parents, educators and students, on opioids. Trina Faatz of PEN told KGNU’s Maeve Conran that PEN chose opioids as a topic for discussion 6 months ago. “Personally several of us had known or experienced deaths that were close to us, and we’d seen an increase in the rise of youths using opioids inappropriately and illicitly and we felt that we needed to bring this to public awareness.”
Jamie Feld, with Boulder County Public Health, one of the presenters at Monday’s panel, says that 1 in 7 Boulder County High School seniors have mis-used or abused prescription drugs, either opioids or other prescription drugs. Nearly 70% of those students who are abusing prescription drugs say they obtained them from a friend or a family member, and students are saying that it’s easier to access prescription drugs than alcohol.
Feld says that they’ve also seen a decrease in the average age of those using the syringe access program. ” In 2010 our average age was 49 and it’s dropped to 29, so that is individuals who are injection drug users in our community.”
The PEN information event Opioid Awareness: Speaking From the Heart and Soul of Addiction happens Monday November 6th from 6.30-8.30pm at Boulder High School.