Name: Aldijana Begic
From: Tempe, Arizona
The Reality of Addiction
Arizona State Uni./ PvCC
The Opioid Crisis Across America
As an individual that has lived around the nation of the United States and Canada, I have been surrounded with struggling addictions. Coming from a home with two family members struggling to overcome their addictions, I see the effect it has first-hand. As a nation, America has been dealing with severe addictions that factor in everyday lives such as alcohol, nicotine, opioids, and Class A drugs. One of the biggest crises that this nation is dealing with, is the opioid crisis. The rise of opioid addiction has been just as severe as tobacco and alcohol addictions because it becomes a form of dependency in escapism.
The opioid epidemic has been hurting and affecting families since pharmaceuticals began to reduce their restrictions on prescribing medications to individuals. Now before a direct finger can be pointed to blame for this crisis, it’s important to understand that it is more complicated than that. Many people automatically blame the pharmaceutical industry and yes, they are obviously the majority of the problem, however; there is more to the story than just a simple industry to be blamed. First of all, there is more than one large pharmaceutical company that distributes opioids. Secondly, there are moral differences between the pharmaceutical companies from how they study the drugs, modernize the drugs and distribute the drugs. Last but not least, pharmaceuticals can not control what physicians, doctors, and clinicians prescribe to individuals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, nearly 70% of the 62,367 deaths involved opioids. This in itself should just show how intense this crisis is in our country. The consequences this addiction has on individuals and their communities can be described as harmful. From personal experience, my sister was prescribed Hydrocodone after being in a car accident. Towards the end of her prescription, she became addicted to Xanax, Oxycodone, and Percocets when they stopped her refills. In the early stages of her addiction, she would have intense withdrawals and become distant from reality. One of her withdrawals was so bad, she attempted to overdose and kill herself. She was then admitted to a behavioral hospital for seven months. During her addiction, she also began to get in trouble with the law and affect our community by stealing local vehicles around the neighbourhood. Dealing with this first-hand truly broadened my vision on the reality of how bad it can get. My sister is actually the biggest reason why I became a psychology major.
A few ideas that I think could possibly help communities and individuals struggling would be the increase of awareness taught on the effects of opioids, especially in schools. I also think there should be more funding put towards research on opioids, such as Oxycontin and Percocets. If more research and studies were done on the health effects of such opioids, then maybe the addictive rates would decrease.