Name: Alejandro Gorricho
From: Atlanta, Georgia
Grade: alejogorricho@gmail.com
School: Georgia State University
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign - Opioids and Paint: USA's Addiction Epidemic

Opioids and Paint: USA's Addiction Epidemic

A kid sits on a booster sit on the back of the car. He plays with the
Tiger plushie that he clutches everywhere. He is being driven back
from preschool by his dad when he stops momentarily at a parking lot.
The kid sees the dad take out a weird vial accompanying by a spoon,
ignorant to the purpose of them. The dad injects himself with the
substance. Time passes, the dad starts bobbing his head up and down
and speaking random words. The kid starts to worry about what is
happening to his dad. The dad stops moving. Cops and paramedics
arrive soon after, and they take the kid out of the car, all the time
being assured that his dad is going be fine. What the kid does not
know yet is that his dad is dead.

Unfortunately, this is a tragically recurring story of people
who overdose on Oxycontin. Oxycontin is a painkiller medicine that
contains high amounts of Opiates. Opioids are a chemical that reduces
and numbs the pain felt by a person, which is why they have been
incorporated into some painkiller medicines. A doctor might prescribe
opioids to reduce pain after a major injury and surgery. Likewise,
they can be prescribed to patients suffering pain from cancer, or
just chronic pain in general. However, the drug has presented
multiple side effects, some of which include; Nausea, drowsiness,
slow breathing, and paleness. Prescriptions have also been
mishandling, which has led to widespread misuse of the drug. The drug
can be ground down into a powder and snorted/injected to cause a
sensation of high on a person. Opioids are extremely potent and can
be highly addictive, which is why opioid addiction has become a
problem in the USA in recent years.

A
cause of this is the mismanagement of prescriptions when the drug was
first introduced, pharmacists and medical professionals did not yet
know the dangers of taking excessive dosages of the drug. Therefore,
opioids were often overprescribed for minor pains, without fully
evaluating the possible side effects of the drug. Likewise, states
did not count on efficient ways of monitoring prescription rates and
amounts. Therefore, people could easily apply for multiple. This
facilitated addiction and the commerce of opioids on the street
market, which led to higher consumption of the drug.

Part
of the blame for the misinformation on opioids is shared by Purdue
pharma, the pioneer of Oxycontin. When they developed and started
advertising the drug in 1996, they had knowledge that the drug was
being abused. Their reports listed instances of the drug being sent
on the internet and street, and how the drug was being ground down to
be snorted or turned into heroin. Even so, they illegally advertised
the drug as being safe and not causing addictions. They also
conducted a massive commercial campaign that helped popularize the
use of medical opioids. In 2006, 4 of the executives of Purdue Pharma
pleaded guilty for false advertisement and fraud. Despite this, the
damage has been done, and now the country has to deal with the
consequences.

This has caused opioid addiction to become a national crisis.
200,000 people have died of opioid overdose in the last 20 years
since the introduction of the drug. 49,000 of the 72,000 overdose
deaths in the USA were caused by Opioids. Even when a person does not
die of an overdose, addiction is still an incapacitating condition
that interferes with everyday living. Furthermore, addictions break
up families and communities, destroying bonds people used to have for
loved ones. Nothing is more heartbreaking and humiliating to an
addict than losing their job, their home, and they're entire life to
the overwhelming power of addiction. Society has also been slow to
deal with the problem, as drug use is highly stigmatized, which only
discourages people from seeking treatment. As a result, the vicious
cycle of consumption and addiction has grown to the point it has
engulfed our entire nation. Therefore, this crisis must be dealt with
as soon as possible.

On
a light note, most states have introduced Prescription Drugs
Monitoring Programs. The goal of PDMPs is to monitor the number of
prescription drugs individuals receive. PMDPs have been integrated
into electronic databases, synchronizing them with the record of all
doctors and all medical facilities. When a prescription is made, the
system will analyze whether the prescription constitutes an instance
of over/prescription. The system extends its reach to all patients
and all prescription providers. It will flag an alert if it deems
that an over/me prescription was indeed made. In spite of this, PDMP
remains insufficient to combat the opioid epidemic, as they have
limitations to their application. Firstly, the use of the PDMP by
prescription providers is not mandated by 9 of the 50 US states.
Secondly, each state has different guidelines of what qualifies as a
mandated check of PMDP. For example, Georgia will not mandate checks
of PDMP when the opioid is prescribed for 3 days worth, or 26
tablets. This has allowed many loopholes in which prescriptions are
not regulated. These holes should be closed, and a national standard
for mandated PDMP checking should be established.

Additionally,
there should be an education campaign among the public. The campaign
should target patients' misconceptions about opioids, as well as its
benefits and risks. Health professionals should likewise receive
training to inform patients about the possible side effect of
opioids. This can help dissuade patients and doctors from easily and
unnecessarily being prescribed opioids. Patients will also be able to
evaluate different alternatives. Equally important is also an
education campaign to reduce the stigma around drug addiction. Drug
consumption is very commonly a result of socio-cultural conditions,
such as family upbringing and school. Some individuals also have
biological conditions that make them more susceptible and more
addicted to the effects of opioids. An addicted parent has a high
chance of having an addictive child. Addiction also neurologically
rewires the brain to make every day functioning dependent on
receiving the drug. Once a person becomes addicted, no matter how
strong of a resolution a person has to leave the drug, the person
will still require professional treatment. Therefore, the less stigma
there is around drug addiction, the more likely people will be to
seek out help.

We
must come together as a country to combat this epidemic. Proper
oversight methods need to be placed on prescriptions and medical
practices. Society should be informed about the dangers that opioids
can pose, as well as the horrors of addiction. Understanding the pain
of addiction will also help people be more empathetic of an addict's
situation, which will help them get treatment. This must also be
understood by anyone who reads this essay if we ever hope to read the
United States of America of the Opioid Epidemic.


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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign - Opioids and Paint: USA's Addiction Epidemic
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