The issue of addiction has touched most people’s lives in one way or another. Due to this common association, it can often be hard to discuss it without painful emotions being stirred up. However, according to the Surgeon General of the United States, these discussions not only have to be had, but the lives of millions of people are at risk if something is not done about the substance abuse problem in our country.
In his recently released report, Dr. Vivek Murthy details how many lives are being lost to addiction and how many people suffer from the disease. He also discusses possible solutions, and appropriate ways to include the illegal drug epidemic in conversation and future policies. “How we respond to this crisis is a moral test for America. Are we a nation willing to take on an epidemic that is causing great human suffering and economic loss?” questioned Dr. Murthy
Facing Addiction in America is the appropriate title of the paper issued by the Surgeon General. Readers can learn a lot about the current situation, including that every day 78 people die from opiate overdoses. This is despite increased public awareness of the dangers of prescription painkiller abuse, first responders being equipped with naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose, and doctors decreasing the amount of prescriptions they write for painkillers. We don’t have to wait and see until the next round of statistics is released, we can continue to do more to save lives now.
Dr. Murthy explains that drug addiction is a chronic disease that is much more likely to be handled by effective treatment. Embarrassment and stigma oftentimes keeps people from seeking rehabilitation help, thus only continuing their addiction. Another common barrier between addicts and treatment has been financial resources, but more barriers have been removed through broader insurance coverage. It is uncertain if the Affordable Care Act will be repealed with a new Administration taking office in January. “We have made progress. how do we keep that progress going? A key part is making sure people have insurance coverage,” commented Murthy.
If informative papers like the Surgeon General’s do anything, hopefully they inform millions of people and motivate enough of us to do more about his problem. If not, the reality is that any one of us could be the next to lose a loved one to addiction – something which nobody should have to experience and is preventable.
If you have a friend or family member who is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Genesis House today and find out more about how we can help.