LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – Centering in on the opioid epidemic in Eastern Kentucky.
Former Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent, Robert Stutman, said the key to fighting the opioid crisis is educating doctors and kids. Monday, Stutman talked with community leaders in Letcher County about tackling opioid addiction in Appalachia. Stutman said the bullseye of the opioid epidemic in the United States is in Eastern Kentucky, due to several factors.
“It’s generally rural, doctors tend to prescribe a lot of opioids, people get hurt on the job, they start opioids and they become addicts,” said Robert Stutman, Former Special Agent in Charge New York, Drug Enforcement Agency.
Stutman said opioids are not proven to cure long-term pain as they only help when it comes to cancer. Which is why he said educating doctors about opioids is crucial.
“This is when you need opioids, this is when you don’t need opioids if you’re going to prescribe opioids this is how you control it,” Stutman said.
The other key to fighting the opioid addiction Stutman said is talking with your kids.
“First learn about it and then be honest, you don’t preach to kids, you’re not their pastor, you have to talk honestly to them,” said Stutman.
A tactic, which could save a child’s life.
“As he said, if one child dies and you have interacted with that child and not done everything in your power to prevent him or her from getting on drugs, then that child’s death is on your hands,” Kristi Dixon who is a community member who attended the event said.
Stutman said the average age for kids to become addicted to prescription painkillers is 12, so it’s important to talk to them when they are much younger, so they will understand the danger of taking pills.
Stutman also said he encourages families to have dinner together as often as possible and ask your kids about their day. He said if you are honest with your children and they trust you, you will be surprised how much they open up.