Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rolled out the state's next big plan to save Texans from the national opioid epidemic Tuesday afternoon: a website and some seriously weird stock photography.
“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids cost lives and devastate Texas families in every region of our state,” Paxton said in a statement. “Opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects. When patients are not well-informed, these drugs can inflict far more pain than they prevent. The Dose of Reality website is intended to give Texans the information they need to avoid those unintended consequences."
According to the latest statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Texas had 1,375 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 out of more than 42,000 nationwide.
A brief perusal of the new website reveals an interactive map of drug take-back sites across the state — in case anyone is stuck continuing to take opioids because they are concerned about finding a place to appropriately throw them away — and a fact sheet with the following definitions of painkiller misuse:
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- Taking prescription painkillers in a way that was not prescribed, such as taking more than prescribed, combining painkillers with alcohol or other drugs, or crushing pills into powder to snort or inject them.
- Taking someone else’s prescription painkiller, even if you’re doing so for the medication’s intended purpose, to ease pain.
- Taking prescription painkillers for the sole purpose of feeling good or getting high.
Anyone browsing the website who believes he or she might have a problem with opioids is directed to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission website or Narcotics Anonymous' meeting finder page.
Texas' website, according to Paxton, is based on a similar Wisconsin effort that started in 2015.