Rep. Joel Bomgar does analysis of CDC opioid data
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A state lawmaker is examining CDC data and trying to figure out why the overdose deaths are increasing. Representative Joel Bomgar says a lot of what's being done to get a handle on the opioid crisis is only making it worse. His analysis of the CDC data shows it started when states cracked down on prescribing opioids.
"If you look at the year they cut people off, overdose rates spiked by 10 percent," said Bomgar. "I mean, the graph is just, the data screams the truth. And the truth, in this case, is when you abruptly cut people off who are already addicted without good treatment options, they switch to street drugs like heroin and they overdose and they die."
Bomgar presented a letter to the Board of Medical Licensure this week. He's hoping to see some of the regulations changed.
"If we care about keeping them alive, we need to give doctors the flexibility to wean them off slowly and get them into treatment," Bomgar explained. "Not just push them off the cliff with no safety net which is what is going to happen if we don't change how we're addressing this epidemic."
Bomgar said medication-assisted treatment needs to be an option for those who are already addicted.
"What you have today is that the law says, if a doctor suspects you of addiction, they have to cut you off within three days," Bomgar said. "Literally have to cut you off flat cold turkey within three days."
And that, he says, it what leads them to the street drugs. He also says restrictions need to be changed on treatment options so that they are more widely available to patients.
Bomgar says doctors should prescribe more alternatives to opioids and find ways to prevent more addictions. But notes we can't ignore the 100,000 Mississippians who are already addicted.
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