Pasadena, CA – Assemblymember Chris Holden and Dr. Larry Moore, President of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons held a presentation at Wilson Middle School to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic.
“Most people don’t realize how young adults, even at age 12, can be vulnerable to opioid abuse,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “We are lucky to have someone like Dr. Larry Moore speak directly with students and education leaders in the 41st Assembly District about the role prescription pain medication plays in the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities.”
In his presentation, Dr. Moore explained how young adults ages 12-22 are most susceptible to opioid abuse when legally exposed to these drugs through prescriptions for pain management following wisdom tooth removal, or through illegal diversions of these drugs from unused pills found in home medicine cabinets.
Many teens believe that prescription drugs are much safer than illegal drugs because they’re prescribed by a doctor, while 36% of high school seniors reported in 2017 that prescription drugs were easy to get.
The accessibility to prescriptions drugs that can lead to a path of opioid addiction combined with the prevalence of new powerful opioids on the streets such as fentanyl has caused a spike of deaths throughout the country. In 2017, there were 49,068 overdose deaths due to opioids. In 2016, 2,012 people died in California due to opioid-related overdoses, doubling the deaths from the year 2000.
“Through opioid education we can save lives and create awareness to help put an end to this epidemic,” said Holden.