Updated: Sep 11, 2018
Why do we need to get high?
Is it pain management that gets out of control? Depression? Stress? Peer pressure? Escape from reality? Yes. It's all that and more.
But is it really as bad as the media would have us believe? The government has declared it a national health emergency. Here are some facts from 2016. By all accounts it has gotten much worse since then:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.
Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.
So we know it's a serious issue. I dare to say that virtually every one of us knows someone, a family member, a classmate, a co-worker, who has been touched by substance abuse. So why in a country that offers more options for support than any other in the world are we such a mess?
Nancy Reagan spearheaded the "Just Say No To Drugs" campaign in the 1980's, so we can't say we didn't know there was a problem. More than 30 years of awareness and yet here we are, even worse than before.
We have made getting prescription medications harder. That's a start. But it's not just pills that trigger heavier or addictive drug use.
In light of this, why are so many states legalizing recreational marijuana? More than 50 people in Syracuse, New York and over100 people in New Haven, Connecticut overdosed on synthetic marijuana (also know as "Spice") within a few days in just the last few months.
An investigation into whether or not the drugs were tainted (thereby causing the overdoses) is ongoing, but how about investigating how so many people knew where they could get the drugs and who to get them from? If they knew, why didn't the authorities? Yes, the man who sold the K2 bags in New Haven was arrested. But why as a society do we accept that it takes a tragedy to act?
Doctors tell us to practice preventative health on things like getting our teeth cleaned twice a year or having annual mammograms, but when it comes to drug addiction we do little more than tell kids it's wrong and dangerous. And when was the last time a teenager listened to anybody but friends or social media trends?
I'm certainly not letting the drug abuser off the hook. Having the choice to purchase and use drugs is ultimately the individual's decision. But what about exercising some self control? What makes people think they need them in the first place? What makes them so weak that they can't find another way to deal with whatever issues are driving them to self-medicate?
We can make all the laws in the world. We can arrest drug dealers and addicts. We can offer resorts where addicts can go to get clean (if they can afford it). It changes nothing. What has to change is who we are and how we are raising our children. And we have to address the reasons why people become addicted to various substances.
Below is an interesting article about factors that cause someone to abuse drugs and the factors that help them resist it. Please look at it, then look at yourself and the people around you and think about how you can prevent or change a tragic situation that effects not only the person, but everyone they know.
The odds are against us winning the war on drugs. They're too easy to get and too many of us are too willing to use them. But as a nation, we have beaten the odds countless times before. We need to act as individuals, families, communities and a country.
Let lawmakers know they can do more and are obliged to do so. Tell them to block drugs from coming across our borders from other countries. Here's how to do it:
A few news stories brought the crisis to our attention, but we can no longer plead ignorance. If we saw someone pointing a gun at their head or perched on the edge of a bridge, would we walk away? Or would we do whatever we could to save them?
Then why do we let the people we love die a slow death due to drug addiction?
Please watch the video below and decide if we can look the other way any longer:
If you are interested in more facts about this subject, go to this link: https://talbottcampus.com/prescription-drug-abuse-statistics/
If you think you know someone who needs help, here is the national substance abuse and mental health services website: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
RESOURSES USED: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html