Opioids are a very real and dangerous phenomenon which is growing steadily. It is difficult to listen to news without hearing reports of the epidemic hitting towns across the country. Prescription painkillers are one of the most widely prescribed classes of drugs in the world and are also found on the street. In 2014, tens of thousands of people died from opioid-related deaths. More than any other year on record, the deaths represented the dangers and risks of prescription opioid addiction.
It is easy to point fingers and blame a certain industry for the opioid epidemic. Many believe health care professionals are to blame because of overprescription of painkillers which leads to opioid dependence. Others point fingers at pharmaceutical companies as they become manufactured and drugs are supplied. Politicians like to lob blame at those not acting ‘fast enough’ to prevent an epidemic. Every person alive realistically has an opportunity to do something to help. This includes:
- Teachers for not educating students enough
- Parents for lack of self education
- Media for not shining a light on epidemic with factual information
- Consumers for taking drugs without doing research on side effects
- Health care professionals for overprescription of medication
- Pharmaceutical companies for drug manufacturing
- Politicians for lack of enforcement of strict laws
Society can take a more active approach to stop the epidemic. Most people know an individual who takes prescription painkillers and becomes addicted. It is important to share experiences with others. Education of children on pain, drugs, alcohol and mental health issues is important to keeping the flow of information going about the ongoing crisis. Medical schools can introduce pain management into curriculums to support medical students in treatment of pain without the use of opioids. Alternative medicine such as acupuncture can support young people in making decisions about patient care.
The media has a responsibility to stop portraying drugs on television and movies or other forms of entertainment as an escape from society. Many ways exist to help alleviate and prevent the growing epidemic which requires involvement from everyone. Holding oneself, friends and family members can be important in developing accountability for opioid addiction. Pointing fingers and placing blame will only aggravate the situation. People who are desperate for relief need alternative measures of managing pain without the use of opioids. Meanwhile, many people suffer from chronic pain and turn to opioids which continues to fuel the epidemic until people take ownership of the realities of addiction and work to effect change.
The Villa understands the importance of providing a safe space for people to voice concerns about addiction to prescription painkillers. Seeking help is not easy but it can often be the best way to get a loved one help. Call us to find out how we can help support yours or your loved one’s journey from addiction to recovery.