MILWAUKEE – Drug addiction and opioid use is a disease that needs to be understood and treated, according to Lynn Riemer, president of ACT on Drugs, Inc. and a forensic chemist with 12 years experience with federal and local law enforcement.
“U.S. consumes 80 percent of all the prescription pain pills in the world. All prescription pain killers are very addictive,” noted the self-proclaimed “Martha Stewart of met labs.”
Riemer reviewed opiate use trends at the Wisconsin EMS Association Working Together Conference, presenting the many ways people use opioids and other drugs through ingestion, injection, inhalation and transdermal absorption.
Her key takeaways were:
- People use drugs to alter their realities – People use drugs because they impact the brain to make the user feel better or happy, and bury bad, sad or uncomfortable feelings.
- Dope sickness drives continued use – When a narcotic addict is dope sick — in withdrawal — they are driven to resolving their withdrawal symptoms by finding and using an opioid available.
- Fentanyl is biggest opioid problem in U.S. – Fentanyl, which us used on its own or mixed into other drugs to increase potency, has become the number one drug abused in the United States. It can be ordered online and shipped directly.
- Feelings need to be dealt with – Drugs aren’t the answer to the problem of bad, defeating or negative problems; people need to talk about their feelings in order to deal with the underlying causes of their problems.