Some people would argue that the American opioid addiction epidemic originated in the late 1990s when the health care system began placing a more significant emphasis on patient pain. Treating pain is especially tricky because it is a “subjective concern;” everyone handles discomfort in different ways, injuries and conditions affect people in varying ways. Determining the best course of treatment depends on each case.
Pain management changes at the turn of the century came when a new drug was lauded as an addiction-free opioid. Both patients and doctors were sold a bill of goods from the pharmaceutical industry that made some bold claims. Owing to financial incentives for doctors, and patients desiring pain relief, it was easy for OxyContin to sink its teeth into the patient population.
The epidemic, as we know it, is hard to comprehend fully. Society must be careful to avoid pointing the finger at one group or industry as the sole cause of the crisis. Many factors played a role in creating the problems we face today. Prescription opioids may have opened the door to heightened opioid use rates involving heroin and a skyrocketing overdose death toll, but there is much more to the story than greedy pharmaceutical companies.
Making Sense of the Addiction Epidemic
You are probably aware that it is now more challenging to access prescription painkillers; particularly in quantities enough to maintain an addiction. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Prescription opioid abuse rates haven’t declined commensurately with all the talk of curbing abuse by health experts and lawmakers. Each day, many Americans die of a prescription opioid overdose. People who needed treatment, but never received it, paid the ultimate price for the disease of addiction.
The epidemic today has spilled over from emergency rooms and primary care offices; Mexican heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids have quickly become significant concerns. Fully grasping the scope and scale of the opioid scourge isn’t an easy endeavor; far too much for one person to make sense of, assistance is required. Even still, having a better grasp on the opioid problem doesn’t mean it will lead to solutions, but we need to start somewhere.
In recent years, television and media programming giants made documentaries to help explain how we got where we are today with opiates. Both HBO and Netflix have some essential docs worth watching, i.e., “Heroin (E),” “Warning: This Drug May Kill You,” “Frontline: Chasing Heroin,” and “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA.” All of which covers an aspect of the epidemic and serve to give viewers an inside look at the severity of issues we face.
Last week, Showtime put some skin in the opioid-documentary enterprise, with the premiere of “The Trade,” The Boston Globe reports. The five-part series, directed by Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land”), looks at the opioid epidemic from several angles. From small Mexican villages growing poppies for the cartels, to overburdened law enforcement officers in the Midwest. You can see the second installment this Friday at 9 pm.
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with painkillers or heroin, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. Opioid use disorder is treatable, and recovery is possible; we can help you begin the process of lasting addiction recovery.