ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Opioid Epidemic

Updated on February 28, 2018

Grisly Statistics

 
 
 
In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids.
Since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths.
Statistics provided by whitehouse.gov

Trouble at Home

The opioid epidemic has hit home both literally and figuratively. According to mass.gov, "2014 marked the first year since 1999 that the fatal overdose rate in the Bay State was more than double the national average." In the past ten years alone, I've had three personal friends and a next-door neighbor succumb to the 'disease' (as I call it). In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes the issue as, "similar to diabetes or cancer, addiction is a complex disease impacted by certain risk factors like behavior and family history. Compulsive substance abuse, cravings, and continued use despite known harmful consequences are hallmarks of the condition. This disease is also more widespread than some may realize." Neophytes on this issue argue that it's a selfish decision--it was the addicts choice, and therefore deserve zero sympathy or empathy. I don't subscribe to this belief. Cynics such as these, fail to factor in the realities detailed by SAMHSA. Seeing the affects of opiate abuse slowly tighten its grip on a persons rationality, up close and personally, has swayed my opinion on this most pressing issue.


Chapter 55 Report

For the sake of context, I feel its important to mention the "Chapter 55 Report". As previously mentioned, my home-state of Massachusetts is suffering. The fact is, "In 2013–2014 alone, opioid-related deaths occurred in two-thirds of the cities and towns in Massachusetts." To combat the war on opioids, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts compiled a comprehensive report on the opioid crisis that was unprecedented. It was groundbreaking because it evolved into an Act signed by legislature and signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker. The Act requires, "certain reports for opiate overdoses" and "is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience." I'm proud of the fact that government officials in this state have finally grabbed the torch on this issue and are taking some initiative.

National Crisis

I'd be remiss and selfish to solely mention where I live as being the only part of a more widespread problem.Opioid addiction has become a nationwide problem ravaging small towns and communities in its wake. It's gotten so bad, that President Trump with his administration, have declared opioid addiction as a "Health Emergency" and signed a memorandum ordering the Health and Human Services Secretary to direct all federal agencies to use any emergency authorities that they have to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths." To better understand the seriousness and scope of the situation, you must realize that the last time a directive was ordered like this, it was in response to the swine-flu outbreak. The administration has shown its seriousness on the issue, given the fact that, "more than $1 billion in funding has been allocated or spent directly addressing the drug addiction and opioid crisis", since Trump took office. Regardless how you feel about the man, it's hard not to laud his effort to attack this issue affecting so many Americans.

A Downward Spiral

Nobody wakes up one day out of the blue and says to themselves, "Let me try heroin today". Through personal observation and research on the subject, I've realized that opioid abuse is a rabbit hole that once you climb in, it's nearly impossible to climb out. The majority of addicts will tell you their habit started off innocuously enough, with prescribed pain-killers such as OxyContin, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone used to help recover from an injury. Eventually, your body builds up a tolerance for these drugs (which aren't cheap) and you end up needing larger doses and larger quantities. When the money runs out, people turn to the cheapest and most powerful pain-killing drug they can readily get their hands on—heroin. Now you may ask, where's the connection with opioids? Opioids are, simply put, concentrated opium in pill form. Opium, when processed chemically, produces heroin. So in essence, the drugs you're being prescribed by a primary care doctor to relieve pain from an injury contain a lot of the same properties as heroin. If you find yourself abusing pain pills; seek help. Seek help, because guess what? Heroin will be your endgame no matter what you tell yourself.

In Conclusion

It's hard to quantify the seriousness of the situation without witnessing the deterioration of a persons soul, intimately. That being said, facts can enlighten one to these dire straits. According to an article on cbsnews.com, "more than one in three Americans were prescribed opiates in 2015." The prevalence of opioids in American society, is a slippery slope with highs and lows. In addition to recreational abusers of the drug, there are many folks out there who are responsible and cautious takers of these powerful remedies. For many, these drugs enhance the quality of one's life and are very beneficial on the road to recovery. Going forward, a national dialogue is needed and more attention needs to be paid. Far too often these days, frivolous and petty "news stories" tend to dominate the 24-hour media cycle. Unfortunately, Opioid addiction deserves our undivided attention.

Sources

Sources:

  1. cbsnews.com
  2. whitehouse.gov
  3. mass.gov/chapter55
  4. malegislature.gov

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)