(FoxNews.com) – In the last two years, there have been more than 2,000 cases of opioid use disorder in the Dominican Republic, mostly involving narcotic painkillers such as fentanyl and acetaminophen.
The cases involve oxycodone, oxycontin, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and acetaminophen. More than 20 percent of the cases involved fentanyl, which can be 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified the drug as a “Schedule 1” substance, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
To combat the issue, health experts and the Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic are turning to novel ways to tackle opioid abuse.
To tackle the issue, health experts and the Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic are turning to novel ways to tackle opioid abuse. The Dominican Republic’s National Institutes of Public Health recently announced the creation of a new multidisciplinary, multidisciplinary program on monitoring for opioid use disorder.
Initially it will focus on use of naloxone, which can quickly treat an opioid overdose. The substance goes by the trade name Narcan, and in the U.S. it is carried by first responders, police and firefighters. The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Health plans to equip more than 20,000 police officers and firefighters with the drug.
The new program comes as the country is struggling to deal with the recent spike in cases of opioid use disorder. The Dominican Republic’s National Institutes of Public Health recently announced the creation of a new multidisciplinary, multidisciplinary program on monitoring for opioid use disorder.
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The program is based on the recently updated guidelines from the World Health Organization. Part of the mandate of the program will be to train other countries in the Dominican Republic to join forces against opioid abuse.
Coincidentally, the program was announced while the United States is working with the Dominican Republic to help the country deal with an opioid use disorder epidemic. Just this month, the United States President visited Santo Domingo to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Dominican Republic to help combat opioid use disorder.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration unveiled its American Action Plan for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, which included a proposal to shift the focus of the Puerto Rico recovery from immediate funding priorities to preventing drug use, in addition to working with countries like the Dominican Republic to develop solutions to the opioid epidemic in the region.
“In Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, we must focus on the prevention of opioid use,” Trump wrote in his remarks on Wednesday. “We must also help the millions of people who have been adversely affected by opioids.”