Drug abuse and addiction are on the rise. The statistics are clear as day. More and more people are using, abusing and dying from substance abuse and drug overdoses. This rise in addiction and fatality is directly related to the increase in prescription drug use and abuse. More and more people are willing, more today than ever before, to use prescription drugs. It seems simple enough. Suffering from an ailment? Take this and several other pills to feel better. Get a sort of ‘high’ from it, no problem. As long as you feel better in the short term, right? Wrong. These drugs are incredibly dangerous and addictive. This fact is clearly evident in the number of people moving from prescription painkillers to other opioids like heroin and eventually dying. States should declare addiction a public health crisis because the damage being caused is extensive and not limited to a small group of people.
Indiana and Massachusetts
States should declare addiction a public health concern because the problem is much worse than most people actually believe. States like Indiana and Massachusetts are reeling from terrible outbreaks of opioid use and abuse. It is not simply a large percentage of the population that is using and abusing drugs, which has always been an issue, but rather all of the indirect issues that rise. Intravenous drug use and needle sharing is causing this problem. Over a year ago Indiana had declared a state of emergency. It was witnessing the worst outbreak of HIV and hepatitis in its history. There were over 100 cases of confirmed HIV in less than a year. The state was is a chaotic state of substance abuse and addiction, which was caused by a painkiller. The citizens of this state had been abusing the prescription painkiller Opana. Those drug addicts were crushing the pills, mixing it with water, and injecting it with needles. This delivery of the drug causes a rush of euphoria and a high from the drug entering the bloodstream so quickly. This drug, like other prescription painkillers, is a narcotic with a high potential for abuse. The drug is engulfing entire families. There are some reports of families all addicted to the drug. Empty, foreclosed homes are now becoming safe havens for addicts looking for a place to lay low and abuse drugs. Authorities have found the living rooms or great rooms of these empty homes to be filled with articles for sleeping and a single coffee can in the center of the room. In the cans are used needles that addicts are free to use. This problem is an epidemic that requires action. Massachusetts is currently dealing with a very similar issue. The weakness of the State’s healthcare system, which is similar to most states in the country, has made this problem much worse. These two states have the worst opioid abuse and addiction in the nation, but Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee are not far behind.
Virginia and Tennessee
Virginia has recently declared addiction a public health crisis, with Tennessee near the same future. Tennessee has implemented a faith-based treatment/response program that is yielding positive results. This program is believed to be working because they are discussing addiction as a mental health issue, rather than a moral deficiency. That old way of thinking only perpetuates the perception that addiction is a choice made by those with weak principles, no moral compass and/or a lack of control.
By announcing that drug abuse and addiction is a public health crisis people are going to be more willing to discuss the issue and handle it appropriately. This will help those struggling with addiction or a loved one who is, to open up about the problem. Speaking with a professional is the best way to get help for an addiction or where to start the process.