In my morning reading, I happened across an article in U.S. News which discussed the disparity of the opioid crisis in America. The report, written by Robert Preidt, a HealthDay reporter, focused on the opioid turmoil as it has touched down in Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
Good news out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city implemented a “sobering center” about six months ago. A facility where individuals detained for public intoxication can go instead of jail. Sobering centers are good alternatives to jail time, as such centers specialize in referring addicts to addiction treatment and recovery instead of just putting them through time served.
Since the opioid crisis fully developed within the U.S. over the last two decades, pharmaceutical companies came under heavy inspection and even ruthless accusation from the American people. And not without good reason.
The U.S. struggles with an addiction problem, but this is not a problem that affects all of us equally. While there are over 20 million people in the U.S. who misuse drugs and alcohol regularly, some demographics and specific sectors of the population tend to suffer more than others do.
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“For the first time in the nation’s history, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident.” That was the headlines from a January 14th, 2019 article in U.S. News. I knew the drug problem was terrible, but I was surprised that it had gotten that bad.
In a nation stuck in its worst addiction epidemic yet, one would think that our medical professionals would be fully prepared to help addicted patients. But quite the opposite is true. In fact, according to Jan Hoffman’s paper for CNBC, only about 15 out of 180 medical programs in the U.S. teach their medical students about addiction to alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
Drug abuse is so prevalent in our society today that just about every industry and walk of life is affected by it. Drug addiction sneaks into our lives in the most terrible of ways. It seems like no industry or area or part of life is safe anymore. So it should come as no surprise to find out that drug abuse is now one of the leading causes of disciplinary action in the medical field.
The drug addiction problem in our country continues to grow, and as it does, our efforts to understand it increase in tandem. There is new data, new research, and new conclusions that link opioid addiction to loneliness.
Addiction is not a new struggle. We’ve dealt with this problem as far back as the history books go, and probably further than that. Addiction is a difficult factor of human nature. It’s something that’s gnawed at us, silently, from the darkest corners of the deepest shadows for thousands of years.