GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — For the first time on record, the National Safety Council said the odds of dying from an opioid overdose is now greater than those of dying in a car accident.
According to pain management specialist, Dr. Kartic Rajput, Nebraska surpasses the national average per capita of opioid prescriptions.
Dr. Rajput said when someone becomes addicted to opioids, it usually happens because they are being treated for pain, and are many times, given more pills than they need.
"When they are not able to get pain pills, they move to heroin and that's when they can overdose because they don't know what they are getting from the streets and a lot of the times they end up taking fentanyl,” said Rajput.
Rajput said fentanyl is the most lethal drug on the market today and he said the most commonly prescribed opioid drugs are hydrocodone, Percocet and oxycodone.
"So a lot of those medications end up sitting in the medicine cabinet and end up being abused or diverted, without even realizing it's a problem,” said Rajput.
Rajput said he has been promoting smaller opioid prescriptions and works with patients to help them crush their addiction.
"Physical therapy, psychological therapy, or non-opioid medications, looking at interventions for proper pain control so people can come off these opioid medications and do much better,” said Rajput.
In the tri–city area, Dr. Rajput said for someone who wants to get off opioid medications, there is no specific inpatient or outpatient place they can go. He is working with the GI Opioid Panel to make a detox facility available to the community.
Dr. Rajput said the next step for that inpatient and outpatient facility is partnering with groups in the state to secure funding and create a plan.