Name: Elana Kline
From: Philadelphia, PA
If I Were Given a Million Dollars
Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of death due to drug overdose involving opiates in the country. My father grew up in Kensington, an inner city borough of Philadelphia which has been named by The New York Times, “The Walmart of Heroin.” My uncle has been hospitalized multiple times due to his abuse of pain medication. If I were given a million dollars, I would fix the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania and hopefully set up a model the rest of the country could follow.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “Over the past two decades, as the prevalence of chronic pain and health care costs have exploded, an opioid epidemic with adverse consequences has escalated.” This is because of the loosening of regulations on opioid prescriptions to non-cancer patients and influence from large pharmaceutical corporations like Purdue Pharma. The reason the opioid epidemic really “exploded” was misconception. After OxyContin was released, many physicians mistook the drug for “codeine” which is less addictive and weaker than morphine. Thus, as physicians prescribed this painkiller to chronic-pain patients across America, millions became addicted.
Many accurately describe addiction as a “disease.” It is important that this disease is treated. That is why rehabilitation centers and detox programs are so important. It is also paramount that journalists, everyday people, and politicians call out those that have perpetuated this crisis. Whether that be pharmaceutical corporations, narcotraffickers, or drug dealers, America and its people are responsible for dealing with this epidemic.
Setting up re-education programs, rehab centers, and giving the police department more resources to take down narcotraffickers would diminish the opioid crisis significantly. Solving this major crisis is important to me because it affects everyone around me– my friends, family, and fellow Philadelphians. This is an ongoing issue that has plagued Americans for years. Not much progress has been made to solve the opioid crisis because there is a lack of financial means. Although it will take much more than a million dollars to solve this problem, it would be a significant step in solving the opioid crisis.