Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Does New Albany's ruling caste grasp that the opioid epidemic doesn't stop at the Clark County line?

Wednesday was Health and Human Services Day for the 2017 Discover class of Leadership Southern Indiana, of which I'm a part.

Specifically, our experience centered on "The Epidemic Impact." It's an understatement of epic dimension to refer to the impact as sobering.

Near the conclusion of the session, one of my classmates answered the question of "what can we do to help" with this observation (paraphrased):

Figure out a way to convince New Albany's city council that the city has an opioid addiction problem, because right about now, it doesn't.

I'm glad this was said, although it isn't the whole council, just some of the prouder out-of-touch old white guys who think they know everything and never tire of flaunting their ignorance.

Just this past Monday night ...

New Albany City Council responds to white supremacy fliers, by Elizabeth Beilman (Hanson SoIn Business Source)

... The council also approved on a preliminary vote the addition of zoning requirements for addiction treatment facilities.

Currently, the city's zoning ordinance is silent on such businesses.

"This is basically about trying to get a handle on facilities that do opioid treatment," (Greg) Phipps said.

The updates entail two new categories for addiction-related businesses — opioid treatment facilities and addiction treatment clinics. The former would administer opioid addiction medication, such as suboxone, while the latter would not.

All new opioid treatment facilities would be required to locate at least 500 feet from homes. Addiction treatment clinics must be 300 feet from homes.

Both are allowed in just two zoning districts — general commercial and light industrial.

Before new facilities open, they must receive a special exception from the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals.

When the standard of 300/500 feet of clearance was said aloud, Bob Caesar (who else?) flippantly replied by snarling that if it were up to him, the standard would be a mile.

Here's an idea, Bob.

Go to your storage unit and have a yard sale with the many Bicentennial coffee table books, golf clubs, art prints, commemorative coins and cook books stacked to the rafters there, and donate the proceeds to some of the agencies who are down in the trenches batting an epidemic that your stunted suburban sensibility seeks to keep out of sight.

It's real, CeeSaw -- and you're an embarrassment.

Coincidentally, The Economist tweeted this on Wednesday.

America’s opioid epidemic is worsening

States are losing the battle against deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl

... The opioid epidemic has its roots in the explosive growth of prescription painkillers. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of opioid prescriptions (selling under brand names like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet) supplied by American retail pharmacies increased from 76m to 219m. As the number of pain pills being doled out by doctors increased, so did their potency. In 2002 one in six users took a pill more powerful than morphine. By 2012 it was one in three.

States have since cracked down on prescription opioid abuse, creating drug-monitoring programmes and arresting unscrupulous doctors. Pharmaceutical companies have reformulated their drugs to make them less prone to abuse. Unfortunately, as the supply of painkillers has dropped, many addicts have turned instead to heroin (see chart), which is cheap and plentiful. In 2014 more Americans sought treatment for heroin than for any other drug. In 2015, as total opioid deaths grew by 15%, heroin deaths increased by 23%.

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