Written by Jenna Lynn Bonstein, Preventionist I
Are we fed up with the opioid crisis in America? That’s an understatement. We constantly hear about it in the news and we know how it is directly impacting our families.
President Trump publicly declared this as a “state of emergency” crisis in the United States. To put this epidemic in relatable terms, approximately every 6.7 hours there was a drug related death in New Jersey, and every 11.2 hours, a heroin-related death occurred. (NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services-2014). Misuse in opioids is exceptionally increasing in our society, especially among women. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicated that each day approximately 5,750 individuals start their first non-medical use of prescription drugs; of these, fifty-four percent are females. It is proven, women who use opioids progress to dependence more quickly than men.
Recently, Wellspring Center for Prevention was rewarded a federal grant that will allow us to reach young girls and women 50+ who may be a risk of opioid misuse.
Our mission is to bring a solution to this issue and raise the awareness by working with community partners who have direct access to female populations. Some objectives include raising awareness of the problem in the community; building the capacity of organizations that work with and provide services for women to identify and address their unique vulnerabilities and building protective factors to reduce their likelihood of initiation of or progression of opioid misuse. We plan on targeting at risk female population and equipping the healthcare professionals with SBIRT trainings done by our staff. We look forward to incorporating this grant with some of our evidence-based programs and projects we already have established such as, Be Smart about Medicine, Young Women’s Conference and other prevention efforts in the community.
This past August, I was interviewed by Brenda Flanagan from NJTV about my personal impact that alcohol and prescription drugs had on my life. Being an advocate and a person in long-term recovery, I am strongly passionate to work with women who may be at risk, using or overcoming opioid addiction in the community, as well as educating our folks about the dangers of prescription drugs. I am honored to be working on this grant with the staff here at Wellspring.
Prevention in opioid misuse in women will have a lasting effect on the lives that are touched by partnering with different organizations toward the same goal. I can say, looking back, that an ounce of prevention at school, in the community or at home, could have went a long way.