Name: Benjamin Paul Martin
From: Maplesville, Alabama
The Solutions for Addiction
The Solutions for Addiction
Why is our nation trapped in an addiction crisis? One reason that the United States is dealing with an addiction crisis goes back to the late 90s. At this time, pharmaceutical companies did not realize the risk that opioids posed. Opioids were prescribed at large rates, and in most cases, the pain was not severe enough for an opioid prescription. This led many patients to form a dependency on them, and prompted them to seek out more. From there, a snowball effect continued. The negative effects of these events still remain today which caused the United States Department of Health and Human Services to declare it a public health crisis in 2017. Another reason that addiction is so evident is because less severe drugs, such as nicotine, tobacco, and alcohol are easily accessible to the younger population. When these lower risk drugs are used excessively, research shows that the chances of the individual using a more hardcore drug, such as opioids, increases.
When an individual chooses to abuse drugs, their entire future is at stake. It could not only ruin their own life, but also the lives of those who depend on them such as family and friends. I have seen the effects of drug abuse firsthand. When I was three years old, my father started abusing drugs. He had multiple knee surgeries throughout his teenage years and that is when he first came into contact with opioids. Later in life, he started to abuse them to become more effective at work. He then formed a dependency on them and became heavily addicted. Many times, he could easily acquire a prescription from a doctor for “mild pain,” which shows there are still flaws in the system when it comes to prescribing opioids. Although he went to a rehabilitation center, he still continued to abuse prescription pills when he returned. He died from overdose not long after he returned from rehab. It left our family broken without anyone to depend on. Although we had a few friends and family members, my mother was left alone to raise three kids. He was a victim of substance abuse, but so was our family and everyone around us. When one individual chooses to abuse substances, it doesn’t just affect them. It affects everyone around them.
Three key areas need to be acted upon to start solving this addiction crisis. First and most importantly, we need to place more funding in our drug prevention programs and rehabilitation centers. This will help combat addiction on two fronts: preventing addiction, and coping with addiction if it has happened. Secondly, we need to educate younger generations on drug abuse, including the causes, effects, and how to remain safe. This will help eliminate the temptation to give in to peer pressure when it comes to less severe substances. This will encourage our young to stay off of the path of drug abuse and help the people of our nation to understand how harmful drug abuse can be. Lastly, we need to change the way that pain medication is prescribed. Severe pain medication, such as opioids, should only be prescribed when absolute necessary–not for more mild pain. These prescriptions and those who prescribe them should also be monitored to protect the person using them. If we as a nation stand up and fight by changing the way we look at and handle drug use, then we will prevail against addiction.