Is thee an opioid crisis in Barton County?
If so, what are the key causes of it and what impact does it have?
These are among the questions the Barton County Health Department is seeking answers to in a brief online survey it is conducting now. The five questions ask respondents their perceptions of the opioid problem and addiction, what they see as the top problems in the county are, and if there are enough treatment options available for addicts.
“We know that we have a meth problem in Barton County, but we also know that opioids are becoming part of that problem,” Health Director Shelly Schneider said. “We know that our law enforcement and emergency responders are having to respond to more overdoses.”
But, “what we don’t know is what the public knows about this and how we need to proceed with education and awareness,” she said. “The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and we need Barton County’s input.”
That’s what prompted the survey.
“We are interested in learning more from (health care) providers and community members about their needs and interests related to addressing opioid issues in the county,” Schneider said. “As a provider or community member, we would like to hear from you. We would also like to hear from your colleagues and friends.”
Schneider said the survey needs to be completed no later than Aug. 1. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete, and all responses will be anonymous.
To access the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/BartonCountyOpioidSurvey.
For more information, contact Schneider at 620-793-1902.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, the last year for which data was available, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. – an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids.
The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths has not changed in Kansas over the past several years, the NIDA reported. In 2017, there were 11.8 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 persons. While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
In 2017, Kansas providers wrote 69.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7, the NIDA reported. This represents a 20% decrease from the 88 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons in 2011.
Information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment indicates that the use of opioids is 17.5% to 19.5% per 100 residents.