Name: Alexis Alvarado
From: Salt Lake City, UT
A Nation’s Crisis
Crisis, crisis, crisis… it seems to be a common theme in our Great Nation. From the border crisis to the opioid epidemic, who knows what the next problem will be. As a nation, we must address these issues and stop them one at a time. How is this, you may ask? By taking action in your own community! Since the emergence of COVID-19, more and more people are being asked to stay home to maintain safety. But what happens when depression, anxiety, and loneliness set in? Well, the answer to that is simple, a nationwide crisis.
Addiction often starts with innocently with a person taking a medication for some injury, and then it becomes something they can not live without. “Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug, out-of-control and compulsive use of the drug, and continued use of the drug despite repeated, harmful consequences” (Staff, 2018). I believe that we are dealing with a nationwide crisis because people have gotten bored and lazy. Many businesses have shut down throughout the last several years, and people have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. To fill that void they had, they developed some sort of an addiction, one of the most common being opiates.
Opioids are often obtained after sustaining an injury. The user takes the medication to relieve the pain and experiences a “good feeling.” But when the good feelings of the drug wear off, the user is often looking for the next high, resulting in a crisis. When the government is handing out thousands of dollars to most U.S. citizens, what else do they expect to happen? There are consequences for the individual, family, as well as society.
Consequences for the individual include losing all their personal belongings, losing a job, becoming homeless, losing children/family, and potential death. Consequences for the family include feeling guilty, being manipulated, feeling betrayed, feeling hopeless, losing a wife/husband, etc. Consequences for society include an increase in the number of deaths, an increase in newborns born with an addiction, and increased healthcare costs. All of these consequences can be stopped very easily through the careful management of these narcotics.
Finally, we can remedy this on both the individual and societal levels through education and awareness. Certain factors are considered when looking at addiction, including the person’s age, criminal history, family history, length of time taking medication, and only using the medicine as prescribed. Addiction can be stopped before it is started by recognizing the signs of addiction and using opioids only as directed, never crushing or injecting them. We can do this at the individual level to ensure the patient indeed has an injury and only takes the medication for the shortest time possible. This involves the patient being honest and open with their doctor if they are indeed still experiencing pain. The longer a patient goes taking a narcotic such as this, the easier it is for an addiction to start. Society can mitigate this problem through awareness and consequences.
The consequences for DUI’s are severe. Severe as in paying ten of thousands of dollars, losing driving privileges, and jail. Abusing opioids should have the same consequences. I guarantee there would not be a nationwide addiction crisis if consequences for misusing them were as high as getting a DUI or committing first-degree murder. Our nation has gotten to the state where it is currently since there have been very relaxed results for people when they misuse this drug.
Together we as a nation can stop this addiction crisis. We must do this through careful education, awareness, and consequences when things go wrong. More often than not, a person will continue doing an action, like an addiction, because they feel they have no other choice. When the choice becomes a life sentence in prison or an extremely hefty fine, I guarantee there will not even be an addiction crisis. If this happens, people will want to live life to the fullest because opiates will be too expensive to give a second look. For now, we must help those who have fallen into this nationwide addiction and save their lives before it is too late.
Staff, M. C. (2018, February 16). Am I vulnerable to opioid addiction? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372.