Coalition tackles opioid crisis

Expert: parents talk to kids at 3 about prevention
Posted at 7:14 AM, Oct 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-20 08:56:08-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - After Gov. Pete Ricketts declared Thursday as Opioid Abuse Day in the state and State Attorney General Doug Peterson called the epidemic a “silent killer,” others are joining the fight in putting a halt to prescription drug abuse.

Drs. Edward G. DeSimone and Curt Barr, from the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton  University, say the battle is much closer to us than we think.

Every three days, someone is dying from a drug overdose in Nebraska, according to Barr.

“68 percent of 12th graders get their prescription from family or friends,” he added.

Barr and DeSimone, blame the epidemic on medicine cabinets, saying accessibility is still the number one issue.

Just how early do you need to talk to your children about drug use?

“Age three,” Barr said. “By the time they get to high school, it’s too late. By the time they get to grade school, it’s too late.”

DeSimone goes a step further, taking a lesson out of classroom into the public arena.

“I have a great slide that I use in my presentation and it says, ‘Last year, thousand of parents found out that they were they're children's drug providers,’” DeSimone said.

Nebraska leaders like Peterson understands the grim statistics and launched an arsenal attack on the opioid fight by raising awareness through the campaign, Dose of Reality.

It’s a dosage that frustrates DeSimone.

“Where’s the outrage?” he asked.    

Still, he and Barr remain committed to the fight.

On Friday at 8 a.m., a conference will unveil the public health issue in the state, what’s being done to curb it and the work ahead.

Coalition Rx, which DeSimone is also the president, is putting the event on at the Barbara Weitz Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha.


Both men say the state is slightly behind the national average on opioid abuse, but that's still not good enough.

To find out more information about the conference including tickets, list of speakers and breakout sessions, click here.