The Opioid Crisis – A Dilemma of Epic Proportions
In 2016 alone, nearly 64000 Americans died from drug overdoses – roughly as many as were in the entire Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. More than 122 people die every day from syringes of heroin, gel caps of fentanyl or an excess of oxycodone. Far more come close, but are revived by naloxone, a lifesaving antidote that has become a critical tool to police officers witnessing these overdoses.
Many say pharmaceutical companies helped spark this epidemic by aggressively marketing opioids as a low-risk solution for long-term chronic pain treatment. But over the years, the risk of becoming dependent on these drugs has become too well known and yet drug-makers have continued to push opioids and reward doctors who prescribe them. Attempts to crack down on prescriptions have helped, but Americans are still prescribed far more opioids than anyone else in the world – enough for almost every adult in the country to have their own bottle of pills.
Synthetic opioids, which have flooded into the US from high-volume labs in China and Mexico, are even more potent – and a potentially fatal dose costs less than a Big Mac. Fentanyl which is a synthetic drug is made in super labs and is much more addicting than heroin and is easier to produce. Drug dealers literally sit in the comfort of their homes, stuffing a gel cap full of fentanyl and other unknown fillers.
Drug dealers past these tester pills out to unassuming victims as free samples in hopes of hooking people to the drug. Once hooked, addicts, many of whom are young teens and adults are forever chasing the initial high.
In October 2017 the White House declared a public-health emergency regarding opioid drug use but did not grant any additional money for the crisis. In February 2018, congress allocated 6 billion to help with this crisis but experts in the field say the amount needs to be at least 25 times that to make a significant progress
Addiction is a disease. The opioid epidemic must be considered a public health crisis, rather than a moral failure. That means expanding access to treatment and counseling, which is widely considered to be the most effective method of getting people off opioids for good, yet it is available to far fewer people than all those who need it.
A lot of people say drugs and or alcohol eventually stop working, that they don’t cover up pain as well toward the end. The pain is deepest for families of users, whose lives are swept up in a cycle of fear and hope, shame and despair. But you can’t prepare for it when it comes to your doorstep,
Most parents don’t’ know their child is hooked on drugs like heroin and other opioids until it’s too late. The signs of addiction sometimes evade the most educated parent.
To fight this epidemic, it will take a community and years of work, along with increased treatment and counseling availability across the nation.
For more information on helping a loved one addicted to drugs contact the substance abuse and mental health services administration Samsha 1-800-662-help or find treatment at ww.samsha.gov
For assistance with drug testing a loved one visit Mednovations at www.mymednovations.com.