You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

POINT OF VIEW: We need community-based solutions to fight drug abuse


If you think drug misuse and abuse doesn’t affect the business community, think again. From 2000 to 2010 there was a dramatic increase in opioid addiction statewide, with Broward County having the highest number of consequences. Unfortunately, the problem still persists today with 401 hospital admissions for opioid overdoses in Broward County during 2013, the most current reporting year. Among these patients 83 percent did not have a diagnosis of an opioid dependency and were considered to be legally prescribed users of these medications.

It’s an escalating problem spreading to all corners of our state and does not discriminate based on socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, and ages. The business community in Florida is no different, and has been severely impacted by prescription opioid abuse in particular.

Addiction transforms hard-working Americans into disrupted and unproductive employees functioning at about two-thirds of their capability. According to a study, the abuse of prescription opioids cost U.S. businesses more than $25 billion in 2007. This is an issue that our business community must prioritize to ensure our employees remain healthy and productive.

Over the years, our Florida policymakers have made huge strides to combat drug abuse and overdose, including establishing a more stringent prescription drug monitoring program, making the anti-overdose medication, Naloxone, more readily available, shutting down pill mills across the state, and expanding the availability of opioids with abuse-deterrent properties.

Sixty-seven percent of human resources professionals believe that addiction is one of the most serious issues they face in their company; yet, only one in five HR professionals say their company openly and proactively deals with employee addiction issues. This statistic is staggering when there are an estimated 500 million workdays lost annually due to addiction problems.

It is time that employers unite together to listen to our community and find solutions to this issue.

In a recent study, 97 percent of local residents in Broward County said they would be likely to suggest that someone they know suffering from opioid addiction seek treatment. Yet, only one-quarter of respondents said they were very confident that they know where to send someone for treatment.

Nationally, only 3 percent of physicians are currently qualified to treat opioid addiction in an office-based setting with certain medications.

Under the provisions of the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, physicians who have completed appropriate training or meet other qualifications are able to obtain a federal waiver to provide Medication Assisted Treatment in an office-based setting. This process includes a medication combined with counseling and behavioral therapy.

The survey demonstrated that our community overwhelmingly agrees that an increase in local certified physicians who are qualified to treat opioid addiction within their office would reduce the number of opiate overdoses.

Drug abuse requires many solutions from the national, state, and local perspective. Increasing our arsenal of resources to include unique community-based solutions will help our employees, businesses and our communities.

We can’t do this without the help of our local physicians and our neighbors. We must first educate our neighbors that there this is a local option for those suffering from addiction. We must also open the lines of communication with our physicians and encourage those who are not already certified to become certified to offer Medication Assisted Treatment in an office-based setting. This will provide our neighbors with a community-based treatment option with a local physician they know and trust.

JULIO FUENTES, TALLAHASSEE

Editor’s note: Julio Fuentes is president and CEO of Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters: Developers fail to acknowledge West Palm

What’s wrong with this picture? The Bristol condominium being built on the west shore of Lake Worth is not in Palm Beach, although the sales office is. Is there something wrong with a West Palm Beach address? Are we still the sleepy little town that was the service village as Henry Flagler developed his hotel on Palm Beach? There is a price to...
Editorial: Regulations on medical marijuana must make access easy
Editorial: Regulations on medical marijuana must make access easy

Medical marijuana is now legal in Florida for a number of debilitating ailments such as HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder and Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s in the state Constitution, thanks to Amendment 2, swept in by 71 percent of voters in November. But the law, enacted on Jan. 3, has barely gone into effect. Under the amendment&rsquo...
Letters It’s about time we make animal abuse a federal felony

Make animal abuse a federal felony It’s distressing to read that a man who beat his puppy to death has plea-bargained his way to probation (“Man gets probation in beating of puppy,” Wednesday). This barbaric killing was committed in 2011 and has only now been adjudicated. We need federal legislation that will make animal abuse a felony...
Trump a leader of nationalism, not patriotism

National Review has sparked an important debate about nationalism. As someone who has been accused throughout her life of excessive love of country, I feel a bit awkward rebutting anything that travels under the name “Love of Country.” Nevertheless, I must join Jonah Goldberg, Yuval Levin, Ben Shapiro and others in demurring from Rich Lowry...
POINT OF VIEW Complete already vetted projects to save the Everglades

In 2000, both Congress and our state Legislature passed the landmark Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which brought together Republicans, Democrats, environmentalists, scientists and agricultural advocates to develop one of the most extensive plans to save any watershed on the planet. Now, the progress of that plan appears to be at...
More Stories