Opioid Epidemic

The most important thing you can do about the opioid epidemic is to comfort the people who are affected. Sorry, that’s really the most important thing right now. A lot of people are mourning. If you don’t know anyone that’s going through this, then the best thing for you to do is to tell everyone you can about opioids. Tell them where it’s coming from. Tell them that their doctors might be encouraged to prescribe opioids even if they don’t need that much. Tell them to ask their doctor if maybe they could start with something not so strong. When you go to the doctor, always remember to be your own advocate. While most doctors wouldn’t ignore symptoms of drug abuse, they may choose to overlook a higher susceptibility to abuse. Remember, they have student loans, too, and if you thought your student loans are high, ask your doctor about theirs!

You also need to do something that is probably less comfortable. Most of us don’t want to call the police or report something to the FBI, despite always hearing “see something, say something,” but if you see a website online that is selling fentanyl, U47700, report it. Even if you’re ignored, at least that call will have been recorded. Call again. Keep calling. If you don’t want to call the police, call Congress. Let them know that you found a website that is openly stating that there are synthetic opioids available from overseas and that all you need to do is type in your credit card and your address and you can start taking pills. There are dozens out there.

Finally, and I know this is going to be hard and probably impossible, but you need you to resist the temptation to start taking these pills yourself. Find every excuse not to. Tell yourself that it’s going to cost too much and you won’t have money for beer because, frankly, beer is safer anyway. Tell yourself that even one pill will kill you. Even though this won’t always happen–sometimes it does–if you tell yourself it’s deadly, you won’t risk it. I know that sounds silly, but if you have an urge to take more than prescribed, go for a walk or watch a movie or call a friend. Most importantly, talk about it. Tell someone what you’re thinking about doing. It’s not like you’re calling the suicide prevention hotline. You’re just telling someone you might double your dose or take a few more pills to see what happens. At this point, someone out there is going to know that that’s a bad idea and will tell you to stop.

If you want to stop this epidemic, you can call Congress and get them to vote on special funding to ensure that all hospitals and schools are prepared with antidotes. You can get them to vote on stockpiling antidotes at FEMA warehouses. You can insist that they treat this not just as an epidemic but an ongoing national crisis that is killing the citizens of the United States of America. Tell them that you know the synthetic opioids are coming from China and that China is fully intent on destroying this country. You have the power to get the United States to be tougher on China. Get U.S. companies to start doing business with other countries. Most importantly, though, we just need someone new in the White House. This has been the longest administration of my life, and it hasn’t even been six months. Get out there, support a campaign, get as many Democrats in office in 2018, and encourage them to support a head-on approach both domestically and internationally so that we can stop this crisis once and for all.

 

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12 comments

  1. Thanks for shedding an incisive light on this. We need to remove the stigma of “the junkie” and start viewing sufferers as not so different from ourselves.

    1. Jessica, you’re right. They’re just like us. While one person is more susceptible to addiction, someone else is more likely to contract something that an addict would not.

      If we see the potential for ourselves to become victims, then we won’t want to marginalize, discredit, or look down upon someone who is suffering already.

      I’m glad to have you here. If you have any additional information about the opioid crisis, I’d be happy to hear from you.

    2. To me it’s just like homelessness or any social issue. There but for the grace of the Force go I.

    3. Exactly, and this is definitely a social issue, a national crisis. The White House wants to treat it like a crime and go after the addicts.

      They need to treat the wounded AND go after the criminals, but the victims aren’t the criminals.

      They should go after the opioid production companies in China that operate online pharmacies and load these drugs onto megaton container ships.

    4. Imprison more. Teach less. Increase Federal Civil Forfeiture. Beat down the poor, old, most at risk, helpless. Take away our social safety nets. Leave people uninsured. Loyalty. Restrict the First Amendment. Attack the free . Turn the people into a subclass below the super wealthy who run the country. Blind nationalism. It’s almost as if someone was trying to make the US more like an autocracy, like Russia or something.

    5. They believe they have all the answers, some incontrovertible plan that will fix everything, just so long as we fall in line or get out of the way.

      They can try to force us, but regardless of their methodology, their solutions are wrong, out of date, and out of touch, and I hope they learn that before more people get hurt.

  2. Working on the front lines of this exact problem, I think this was well written, informative, and kept the politics out of it for the most part. Very well researched and constructed.

    I don’t agree with you politically in some areas, but I think one of the best ways to combat this particular epidemic is people like you educating others in just this way. Very good job!

    1. Thank you so much for the work that you do. Since you have personal experience, please share what an individual can do on their own to stop this epidemic. Anything little they can do.

      I’m glad you’re here. At times, we’ll disagree, but it makes me just as excited to hear a dissenting opinion than my own opinion repeated back to me. That’s how we can actually get somewhere!

      If you have any additional information on the opioid epidemic, I’d love to hear from you.

    2. Individuals who ARE addicted can absolutely ask for help. I know it may seem (from the outside) that it is shameful. But healthcare workers deal with it all the time. I’d much rather hear a patient say “I think I’m addicted, can you help me out?” Than have to dodge around their vomit in the trauma room while they aspirate and die. Besides nurses are absolutely cool with questions like this, and have tons of resources to give you for free. Same with pharmacists. Will we talk about you after you’re gone? Yeah. But we’ll say things like “Hats off for that kid. He’s doing the right thing.”

      Individuals who KNOW someone who is addicted, use these resources:

      Crisis Call Center
      800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisis-services

      The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center
      800-784-6776
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://www.addictioncareoptions.com

      National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism
      800-662-HELP (4357)
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

      Let them know they’re in good hands and you want to be someone they can go to. Give them the numbers.

      Healthcare providers can help by asking the hard questions about drug therapies and how the patient takes them. Addiction is such a taboo, which is laughable, because everyone has them.

      I’ve personally seen 60 lbs of necrotic tissue carved off an ugly person’s naked backside and crotch. Complete with maggots.

      Someone asking for help for an addiction is a breath of fresh air. Literally in some cases.

      Walk into anyplace with a nurse…and just give it to them straight. It might be an awkward three minutes, but after that they’ll help you! Besides, it isn’t nearly as awkward as “fidget spinner stuck on penis” written on the ER admission board.

    3. Thank you for providing this valuable information.

      Anyone reading this should know that we all have addictions, and that’s okay. Might even be a part of being human. What’s not okay is the stigma that having an addiction makes you somehow inferior. That’s not true. We used to say a physical impairment meant you were also somehow dumber than others, and that’s now widely considered ridiculous.

      However, mental illness and addiction both seem to imply that you’re not as valuable. As a society, we need to be more mature than that.

      You’re definitely just as valuable and definitely worth saving. No matter what.

      So text or call one of the numbers above if you need help or know someone who does. It doesn’t have to be a perfect message either. “Help” will do just fine.

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