Krissy McAfee encourages the Santa Clarita Valley to support a Change.org petition to require training before doctors prescribe opiate painkillers.
The local war on heroin has grabbed the attention of the Santa Clarita City Council, Sheriff’s Station and local rehab centers like Action Family Counseling. But Krissy McAfee, anti-drug advocate and Action Foundation board member, says that addiction often starts with something much more accessible–prescription painkillers.
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Because of this, she is voicing her support and encouraging other SCV residents to sign a recent petition on Change.org, calling for the Food and Drug Administration to require special training for doctors before they can prescribe opiates.
“In 2008, 36,450 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, and 20,044 of those were due to prescription drug overdose. Opioid pain relievers were involved in 14,800 of those 20,044 deaths,” according to the petition’s webpage.
McAfee’s 24-year-old son Daniel Trae Allen died of a heroin overdose in 2010, but his addiction started with prescription painkillers, she said.
“He started in high school using, recreationally, Xanax, Vicodin and then Oxycontin,” she said at a the city’s first Heroin Kills Symposium in 2010. “However, none of those drugs are recreational drugs. They’re all addictive drugs. Once he hit the Oxycontin, he started snorting 80 milligrams at a time.”
She said that he started taking drugs with friends who had grown up together. His family sent him out of state to help get away from that crowd.
Allen had been sober for two months when he came back to California for a court appearance. Then he relapsed.
“It took that one time, and it was too much,” McAfee said.
And at that 2010 Heroin Kills Symposium, she said that she hoped other parents would not have to experience what she did.
“The last time I physically got to kiss my son, tell him I love him and tell him I’m sorry that his life ended this way was on a gurney before the coroner took him away from me,” McAfee said.
Currently, the petition is 94 signatures short of the 500-signature goal.
McAfee shared a link to the petition on her personal Facebook page on Jan. 28, not long before the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Dr. Terry Stanger, who is charged with alleged “over prescribing of opiate, anti-depressant, and other controlled medications absent a legitimate medical purpose,” according to a press release.
Earlier this week, the license of Jay Scott Pharmacy in Burbank was revoked in connection with the 2008 overdose deaths of six patients in their 20s and 30s, according to the State Board of Pharmacy.
“We have so many doctors that are just giving out this prescription,” McAfee said. “I think they need to be trained in pain medication specifically.”
While the petition addresses a national issue, McAfee pointed out that it hits close to home.
“Of all the kids that I know in Santa Clarita that passed away (from overdoses), they started with the prescription drugs or overdosed and died from the prescription drugs,” she said.
The city’s Heroin Kills campaign, which started in 2010, has already made a difference.
The third annual Heroin Kills Symposium came a year after heroin-related deaths reached a peak locally. By the time of the second annual Heroin Kills Symposium 2012, nine young adults had died from overdoses or related problems. The total for the year reached 16.
As of August 2013, there had only been two that year.
But at the time, City Manager Ken Striplin said that it was still two too many.
To learn more about the local campaign to end drug abuse and overdose, click here.
The petition and related information are available here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News