Name: Isabella Rose Guarnera
From: Cleveland, Ohio
America’s Addiction Crisis
America’s Addiction Crisis
“ In 2017, there were 47,000 drug overdoses that dealt with opioids and about 67.8% of the deaths in the year of 2017 were drug overdoses” (CDC injury center). The opioid crisis alone continues to affect America more and more each day. Opioids are not the only drug affecting the nation however, they are the most deadly. The main problem with opioids happens to be the amount of substance abuse and patients becoming addicted due to the high strengths. America should start by educating the population on drugs and how it has affected our country, so as a whole American’s can lower the number of preventable deaths from addiction. Addiction can affect more than just one person; they can affect a whole family.
When opioids had first been introduced it was to help soldiers after being wounded during a battle. It happened to be morphine, a narcotic that can relieve severe pain. It was helpful for medical use and all, but the soldiers started to become addicted to the drug and abuse it. This would happen so often that Morphine addiction was later called the “soldier’s disease”(Drug Addiction in the Military). Morphine was still being used to treat soldiers, and throughout the years the progression of different types of opioids multiplied. Natural narcotics had been created including Optium, Morphine, Codeine, and Thebaine followed by semisynthetic narcotics Heroin, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Etorphine. Synthetic narcotics included Pentazocine, Meperidine, Fentanyl, Methadone, LAAM, and Propoxyphene. Lastly, endogenous opioids include Enkephalins, Endorphins, and Dynorphins.
To my belief, our nation is dealing with an addiction crisis because the people who live in it are not educated on addiction or the drugs themselves. By the same token the next generation or just for the whole public American needs to have more educational programs about drugs. D.A.R.E emulates an excellent example of a small program that travels to a few schools in Ohio and out of the state to try and educate students about the dangers of drugs. For example, the government should take American’s taxes and distribute them to different drug programs to help keep a large population safe and lower the death rates. If each state could have a drug program to teach students the dangers of drugs it could help save a life and a family of drug addiction. More people could receive help if they knew the signs of addiction to drugs based on what their symptoms appear as. If rehab centers started to develop more affordable and within a closer range to people, substance abuse could go down significantly.
Addiction can have many consequences for an individual and society. Addiction can impact the way a person lives on a day to day and their family. Unfortunately, my family has been affected more than once by different types of addiction. A part of my cousin’s life was taken from him at a young age. A regular teenager in high school got addicted to painkillers. He was one of the older cousins in my family. I was young when this happened and I can vividly remember sitting at the kid’s table during Christmas dinner and always seeing my older cousin Micheal at the adult table until one day he was not there. Micheal has been in rehab for seven years and finally has his life back. My uncle has recently gone to a rehab center in Cincinnati for alcohol dependence. My aunt has two kids and she works full time and now struggles to pay the bills and take care of the kids and dog. My mother’s father was an alcoholic and has now been sober for a long time. Her childhood was ruined in a way because of my grandpa’s compulsive behaviors. Everyone in some way can be affected by addiction. Whether it is someone you barely know or it is one of your loved ones. It has affected my family tremendously and is a sensitive topic to many others. Addiction is a huge problem and continues to affect almost everyone daily but something needs to change. We as a nation need to stop losing important people in our lives.
Therefore, a remedy for this crisis on both the individual and societal level could begin with more affordable rehab centers. rehab centers lowered the more people could receive help instead of spiraling out of control. Although, Rehab centers are extremely expensive and not always nearby. There are different types of rehab treatments that have positive outcomes for patients: health, education, drug use, employment, and relationships. A typical day in a rehab center starts with a healthy early breakfast. Next, the patient has daily afternoon therapy they can choose from a list: being in a group discussion, family, and specialized therapy. Patients are then allowed free time and at the end of the day, they have another therapy session. Most rehab rates are successful except for some going through a relapse. However, most people can not afford rehab and it can usually range from 2,000 to 3,000 dollars.
Money continues to be a huge part of the opioid crisis. Rehab centers should be more available so American’s can still use opioids for medical use but allow people to receive help if they develop an addiction. Few programs educate schools and children on why not to use drugs and signs of addiction. Hospitals are saving lives by using opioids to do surgeries but, later they are destroying them by giving patients high prescriptions of opioids. Health professionals should acknowledge how to help patients with pain and not allow them to have access to addiction. Instead of using the same type of strength in the prescription patients should get a mitigated prescription which would allow patients to recover pain-free. Another constructive reason to lower the strengths of a prescription can be to shrink the amount of addiction. The legalization of Marijuana recently has been a big debate, but it should not because overdosing on Marijuana takes a great amount of THC while overdose on heroin can happen within one injection. Medical Marijuana could help with chronic pain and help addiction because Marijuana has less addictive properties. If a patient had formed an addiction to Marijuana and could not receive help through rehab it would be less likely to overdose than taking different opioids. Different states have been more worried about legalizing Marijuana they are not giving enough attention to the number one killer in America: opioids, alcohol, and heroin.
On the contrary, the variety of drugs being produced happens every year, but no one has a backup plan if the vast majority of people become addicted. A patient should have a strong trust with their doctor. Some drugs work differently on each person, some can work and some can do more and have more negative than positive effects. Therefore, as a whole no one knows the full side effects of every drug, and if they can make matters worse for the anatomy of the body. From the year 1999 to 2017 there have been 29,406 deaths from just fentanyl alone (Allen 23). The U.S needs to gain control over the opioid crisis because the amount of deaths per year continues to augment. Drugs continue to develop throughout the years when America should instead reduce the number of opioids being produced and proscribed. All conditions considered, America needs to educate the population on drugs and how it has been affecting our country, so American’s can lower the number of preventable deaths from addiction.