Primary care physicians and emergency physicians have reported a surge in opiate abuse within the state of Vermont. It is being labeled as a public health epidemic and crisis, with a 2013 mortality rate of almost double what it was in 2012. There are several factors that play a role in why Vermont has seen such a growth in opiate abuse, from easy access to opiate dealers in major urban cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia to a decrease in law enforcement coverage in rural areas of the state. One major element, and the focus of this project, is the lack of communication and awareness of resources for family members of abuse victims. Opiate abuse does not only affect the victim, it also affects their relationships, families, and friends. The major barrier to family members and friends seeking emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental support is the stigma that surrounds opiate abuse. If people don’t talk about the issue, this barrier cannot be overcome. There needs to be more information available to families, so they may seek out the appropriate resources and support needed to make strides towards helping their loved ones through their addiction’ This lack of communication among families in the community also contributes to the public health problem and the stigma of substance abuse; it results in a vicious cycle.
Opiate abuse, Vermont
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Medical Education | Primary Care
Thakrar, Raj, "Opiate Abuse in Brandon, VT: Empowering Support Systems" (2014). Family Medicine Clerkship Student Projects. 9.