Acknowledging the opioid epidemic

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dear Editor,

I write this article as a very concerned physician with a singular hope that those involved in this scary quagmire will be moved by what I write and will seek ardent proper help.

The scourge of opioid addiction, leading to heroin addiction has most recently become the leading cause of death in the USA. There has been a 200% increase in opioid use in the country since 2000.

A reported 125 million Americans were abusing prescription pain pills in 2016. It is estimated that 80% of Heroin users in our country started off abusing pain pills before moving on. In our state of Georgia, there were 549 deaths from opioid overdose in 2015.

In fact, 29 counties in Georgia have a higher fatality from overdoses than the average county in the United States.

Georgia ranks in the top 11 states in opioid related deaths.

These figures should give any health-care professional nightmares.

For purposes of this article, it may be too ambitious to discuss the cause and solution of the addictions. It is too complex to get in that.

Suffice it to say that we are faced with this alarming issue which has resulted in broken relationships and homes, loss of livelihood and endless suffering.

I believe that on an individual basis, the most important thing is to acknowledge that one has a problem and to seek proper help for it.

This is an illness. In many cases, this is chronic and there is no life-long cure in the majority of cases.

I appeal to all victims and those physicians who practice addiction medicine in our area to whole-heartedly dedicate ourselves in curbing and controlling it.

The approach should be multi-faceted with control through medicine, counselling, family and community support.

A holistic approach is necessary.

Please visit for beginning a worthwhile journey towards a healthy life. I, for one, intend to do everything that I can to help those who are willing to turn their lives around.

Swaroop Nyshadham