Addiction Is A Public Health Crisis
April 21, 2018
The idea that people struggling with drugs and alcohol are at fault for their addiction is preposterous and yet it is something that many individuals maintain to be true. Whenever someone doesn’t fully understand something they are apt to fear it, fright leads to reaction and usually the wrong response. No other example of what can arise from fear and ignorance fits the bill better than the American war on drugs. A better description is a war on addiction.
Historically, there were two sides to addiction in America, those who have it and those who don’t. Not surprisingly, people mostly associate drug use with the impoverished or Blacks and/or Hispanics; this is thanks to misinformation propagated over the course of decades. Not long ago, few individuals would think of middle class, white Americans with rampant substance abuse. Then the American prescription opioid epidemic became a reality, and everything the majority of people thought about addiction was flipped on its head.
Over hundred people die of an overdose each day in the U.S., those who succumb make up a diverse demographic. Some of the people dying come from the upper echelons of society. Recently our legislators, perhaps for the first time, have begun to understand that addiction doesn’t discriminate. All of us are eligible for mental illness, including the loved ones of politicians.
American Opioid Addiction Crisis
In recent years some efforts have been made to combat soaring addiction and overdose rates. Expanding access to addiction treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone are some of the most critical steps. Even still, most Americans struggle to find treatment; a significant number of people are reluctant to seek treatment for fear of ridicule from their peers.
“If it were some other illness, we would be throwing exponentially more dollars at this than we are,” Patrick Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, tells The Hill. “We would be mobilizing significantly more federal resources toward tackling this. We would be marshaling every agency within the federal government to attack this.”
There are a number of people who do not feel like the government’s response to the problem is adequate. Despite the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, the death toll has not diminished, and use disorder rates are relatively consistent across the board. That’s not to say we should give up hope; lawmakers continue to work together to draft legislation that could end up helping millions of Americans.
Eight senators introduced a follow up to CARA, called “CARA 2.0,” according to The Hill. If passed it would place a three-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions for patients with acute pain. The Senate Health Committee presented a bipartisan discussion draft of an opioid bill. The House Energy and Commerce Committee hopes to have an opiate package of measures on the House floor by Memorial Day.
“Getting Congress to take this issue up took a lot of work and a lot of advocacy from the grass roots to put pressure on Congress to understand that this didn’t happen overnight, it’s been coming for a while,” said Patty McCarthy Metcalf, the executive director of Faces and Voices of Recovery. “The rate [of opioid-related overdose deaths] has been increasing — we haven’t seen it decreasing, so something is not working.”
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Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Christians Drug Rehab. Our dedicated team can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools for living a life in recovery.