What Your Patients are Hearing

Texas launches website in fight against opioid abuse; Gen Z’ers report more mental health problems


 

Officials in Texas see their new “Dose of Reality” website as a tool that might help address the opioid crisis in their state.

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Dose of Reality, an initiative of the state attorney general, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and Texas Health and Human Services, offers for download material on opioids. People also can learn about risk factors of opioid abuse and how to safely store the medications. Drug disposal sites statewide also are included, according to an article published by the Dallas Morning News.

“The misuse of prescription opioids costs lives and devastates Texas families in every corner of our state. Dose of Reality is a one-stop shop of information on the opioid epidemic in Texas. [It] will pull back the curtain on opioids, educate Texans and save, hopefully, many lives,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reportedly said at a press conference announcing the website launch.

Of the 42,249 deaths tied to opioid overdoses reported nationwide by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2016, 1,375 of those deaths reportedly occurred in Texas. According to Mr. Paxton, deceptive marketing and promotion by pharmaceutical companies have been part of the problem.

Efforts aimed at combating the opioid crisis by Mr. Paxton have included legal action against one drug manufacturer to force more realistic description of the risks of opioid use.

Generation Z and mental health

Gen Z’ers – young people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s – are the most likely age group to report mental health problems, according to a report from the American Psychological Association.

The findings from the group’s 12th annual Stress in America survey of 3,458 Americans aged 18 years or older and 300 teens aged 15-17 years showed that issues such as sexual harassment and gun violence are significant stressors for Gen Z. America’s youngest adults are most likely of all generations to report poor mental health, and Gen Z also is significantly more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues, the study authors wrote.

Adolescents and young adults aged 15-21 years are more concerned than are other generations about the state of the United States, and overall, 71% of the Gen Z’ers are more positive about the country’s future. About 60% had gotten politically involved in the past year.

But that optimism did not extend to Gen Z’ers of color. “For around 4 in 10 Gen Zs of color, personal debt [41%] and housing instability (40%) are significant sources of stress, while 3 in 10 white Gen Zs [30%] say the same about personal debt and less than one-quarter [24%] of this demographic cite housing instability,” the authors wrote.

“Solutions” center in the works

A new facility to be built in a Denver neighborhood will enable offenders with mental health issues to receive treatment instead of incarceration. Once up and running, the facility, dubbed a “solutions” or “stabilization” center, will be a go-to option for police officers who have picked up someone judged to be in the throes of a mental health crisis, instead of a trip to the police station and booking, the Denver Post reported.

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