CDC issues new recommendations for prescription painkillers

CDC: U.S currently experiencing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose

More than 40 Americans die each day from a prescription opioid overdose. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced new recommendations for prescribing those types of meds for chronic pain.

Opioids are medications such as morphine and oxycodone; they’re also illegal drugs such as heroin.

The new CDC recommendations will give providers the information they need to make better decisions about treatment.

Tuesday night, the village of Chaseburg was also discussing ways to curb the drug problems it is seeing closer to home.

The Chaseburg population sign reads 284, but the village board knows just because it’s a small town doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the same problem with drugs as the big city.

“We just want the public to be aware of the drug problem that’s going on in the area,” village president Ken¬†Bluske said.

Bluske said Chaseburg isn’t seeing much of a problem with drugs, and doesn’t want that to change.

“We’re just trying to protect our small town and keep it safe,” Bluske said.

That’s why the village board asked the Vernon County sheriff and West Central MEG Unit to host a drug awareness meeting, giving a presentation to residents about the drug trends in Vernon County.

“Methamphetamine is a big thing in Vernon County, along with the trickle effect of heroin coming from La Crosse,” Lt. Scott Bjerkos of the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department said.

Heroin use and abuse has increased nationwide. Bjerkos agrees with the CDC it has become an epidemic. That’s why the CDC is issuing new recommendations – which doctors are not required to follow – encouraging physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain meds before prescribing prescription painkillers.

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Department said it can’t fight drug use alone, it needs the public’s help. That’s why meetings like Tuesday night’s are so beneficial to both the department and the community.

“We want our kids to grow up strong and drug-free and keep our community strong. That is what Chaseburg is all about,” Bluske said.

There are 12 recommendations from the CDC. Among them are nonopioid treatment for chronic pain outside of active cancer and end-of-life care, and if an opioid is used for pain, prescribe the lowest effective dose to reduce risks of misuse and overdoses.

The Vernon County sheriff wants to remind everyone, regardless of where they live, that if they see something suspicious to report it. The department said it can’t do anything if it is not alerted to an issue. A person can call their local Crime Stoppers if they would like to remain anonymous.