As a regionally engaged university, we embrace our role as steward and champion of Western North Carolina. The opioid crisis is a nation wide epidemic whose impact we are all too familiar with in WNC. We seek to foster tangible steps that will make significant and lasting contributions to the well-being of the people affected by addiction in our region. Learn How We're Making an Impact for the future
“It’s just a phase.” “They are just being teenagers.” “I drank when I was their age and I was fine.” These are things I know that I heard as a kid and that I have heard said to kids today. The flip side of these beliefs is the misconception that adolescents cannot develop substance-use disorders.
Alumnus Kevin Rumley '18 serves with Asheville's Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) which is an example of a treatment court that specifically serves the veteran community.
We have all heard the phrase “the boy (or girl) next door.” This means a person is perceived as accessible, familiar, and dependable—a seemingly ordinary, wholesome, unassuming or average person. Prescription opioids are the drug next door. It is safe to assume that in every medicine cabinet in our neighborhoods there is the drug next door.
The American people have historically used substances for reasons ranging from celebration to coping to survival. The current societal focus on the opioid epidemic has brought significant attention to addictive disorders in the United States. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 63,000 individuals died from drug overdose in 2016. One year later, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported 70,237 deaths in the United States caused by drug poisoning. This is an increase of 7,237 deaths in one year.
Opioid use continues to take its toll on communities across the United States. A dramatic rise in the rates of use over the past decade led the Department of Health and Human Services to officially declare an epidemic in 2016. The most disturbing aspect of this unprecedented epidemic is the number of fatal overdoses. More specifically, 70,237 drug-overdose deaths were recorded in the United States in 2017, nearly 10,000 more than in the prior year and the highest number to date.
More Than Medicine Is Needed to Address the Opioid Epidemic - In the U.S., there is a common perception that there is a pill to fix everything. We are flooded with advertisements promoting pharmacological management for all kinds of conditions. There are even drugs that have been developed to counteract the side effects of other drugs, such as a pill to counteract constipation resulting from use of legally prescribed opioids.
Nursing addresses the human response to health and illness and has very different philosophical underpinnings from the medical model, which predominates in the US health care system. The medical model is based on a biomedical perspective, which is often focused on disease and illness and involves the use of a systematic method of collecting evidence to support the diagnosis of a disease or disease state.20 The medical model defines health as the absence of disease or illness and is historically rooted in Rene Descartes’s dualism, which presumes that the mind and body are separate entities.
Since coming to Western Carolina University to complete her master’s degree in social work, graduate student Rosemary Yelton has seen firsthand the effects the opioid crisis is having on Western North Carolina. Wanting to help fight what has become a national epidemic, Yelton was excited to learn last summer that she had been named to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s Council on Collegiate Opioid Misuse.
Looking at the role of social workers and integrate health care in fighting the opioid epidemic