The Truth About The Opioid Crisis In The USA
We have all heard the news about the opioid crisis or epidemic. The media talks about it all the time. One thing people don’t seem to realize is that the crisis is more than just opioids, it’s really about overdoses.
The first paragraph of anything about the crisis mentions that people are overdosing due to opioid use. But an opioid crisis and an overdoses crisis aren’t really the same thing. One is about addiction, and one is about death rates, so really what is it that we are worried about?
Drug overdose is actually the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50. A big part of that is of course opioids, but they are often mixed with other drugs. Other drugs that are not opioids.
Don’t Blame Prescriptions
So it seems everyone is focusing on opioids and addiction to them as the problem. People seem to believe that the over-prescribing of opioids by doctors is the real issues, and we can fix it by getting doctors not to do that.
People aren’t wrong, opioid prescriptions have gone up quite a bit through the last 30 years. This is actually because of the practice of not prescribing enough back in the day. Now we know more about chronic pain conditions. This means more people are believed when talking to doctors about their pain and are being prescribed painkillers.
The news doesn’t seem to want to separate the fact that prescription rates going up is because of a good reason. Of course, some doctors are a little too happy to prescribe pain meds that can cause addiction. But that doesn’t mean they need to be stricter for those who do need it.
Statistics don’t separate between people who have legitimate prescriptions and those who lie to get them.
It isn’t widely announced that most prescription pill abuse is by those that are not prescribed the pills. That means they’re buying them on the street or stealing them. Neither of those things is a doctors fault.
Not All The Same
Yes, most heroin users start off using prescription pills. But that definitely doesn’t mean that everyone prescribed painkillers end up using heroin. Yet everyone treats it as if that’s the case.
These conversations also lump together prescription pain pills and heroin, since they are both opioids. But they are vastly different conversations. Overdosing from a prescription drug on accident still counts in these numbers.
Fentanyl and overdoses related to that drug and heroin are the real force of the overdose epidemic. That is why it can seem crazy when the media keeps pushing legitimate prescriptions.
Thinking that getting doctors to stop prescribing painkillers isn’t really going to help. Imagine what would happen if someone who really needs pain medication has their prescription stopped. They’ll probably turn to the easier accessible drugs like heroin or fentanyl. They may accidentally overdose on it, and the cycle gets worse as it goes on.
We don’t have people suffering from addiction just because drugs are available. It’s sad to say this, but drugs have always been around and have always been available. Addiction is caused by a mix of drug use and mental or physical problems that you make you likely to have it.
People choose to use drugs. No one uses something like heroin on accident. If they want the drug, they will be able to find it. The internet makes sure of it. Trying to stop legitimate prescriptions that people genuinely need won’t do much for us in the long run.