When headlines announce White House Panel Recommends Declaring National Emergency on Opioids, several things can happen, among them: 1) The public, opioid addicts included, can openly address the popularized mindset of avoiding pain whenever possible, and 2) Capable rehabilitation experts can forthrightly apply rehabilitative plus preventative efforts. Before either scenario can develop, however, a clear understanding of “Spaced Out, Can’t Work” facts is in order.
An Overview of America’s Opioid Crisis from Onset until Today
America’s drug-addicted workforce was cited in a July 30 2017 AXIOS article specifying that “A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT’s Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl…. The reports suggest a circularity to the crisis in America’s rust and manufacturing belts: the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection.”
Americans lacking college diplomas are hardly the sole drug-addicted demographic unable to perform job descriptions, though. An August 4, 2017 USATODAY article referred to an all-time high of female teen suicide rates, and substance abuse was cited as part of the problem. That potential segment of the US workforce is drug disabled. Philly.com recently announced that “More than one-third of adult Americans used a prescription opioid in 2015, according to results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”
On July 5th 2017, MEDPAGETODAY’s pain medicine news staff explained that opioid addictions are starting, with increasing frequency, in childhood, and that some nursing homes are worsening matters. Other evidence also illustrates the across-the-board opioid addiction problem.
On July 7 2017, MEDPAGETODAY shared a Hot Spots for the Opioid Crisis update with clinicians. It specified that A) “New county-level data from the CDC highlight the extreme geographic variation in opioid prescription rates, with some areas showing average morphine equivalents per capita 10 times greater than those of less-impacted counties… every state had at least one county with a high per-capita rate of prescribed opioid use. Overall prescribing has fallen in the past few years, but the amount of opioids per person was still three times higher in 2015 than it was in 1999.” and that B) “Enough opioids were prescribed in 2015 to medicate every American for three weeks straight. To combat overprescribing…physicians should do so only when benefits outweigh risks. Behavioral and physical therapy and NSAIDs should be first choices.” That therapy can include the techniques of Kids Kicking Cancer, which precludes the desire or need for opioid pain killers among children receiving chemotherapy. That’s necessary for a receptive population of current and potential addicts, and for medical professionals who need to rethink the opioid prescriptions they make.
There’s long been a noticeable prevalence of additional headlines that address America’s opioid addiction problem. They announce that the problem disrupts lives, employment issues and productivity across society.
Who’s to Blame?
America’s opioid addiction causes include 1) Doctors who are drug pushers such as the Belleville, New Jersey practitioner who operated a distribution ring that spread 50,000, 30 milligram oxycodone pills to people in the Atlantic County area in less than a year, 2) Patients unfamiliar with or unwilling to use non-opioid pain-killer alternatives, 3) Greed showing up in the revenues of doctors or patients benefiting from insurance reimbursements, and other factors. NPR’s December 15 2016 article ‘Drug Dealer, M.D.’: Misunderstandings And Good Intentions Fueled Opioid Epidemic illustrated the problem long before the arrest in New Jersey, and 4) American addicts who’ve enabled their problem by desiring quick fixes rather than wiser approaches to coping with and tolerating pain.
A classic line of thought in therapeutic settings is that “Changing your beliefs and perceptions lead to recovery. Learn to trust in yourself and trustworthy others, and make a commitment to sobriety.” But personal convictions too rarely work alone. Addicts usually need professional addiction rehabilitation services. That support helps addicts to reach and to sustain sobriety. A society-wide respect for maturity is also called for. Inner growth plus an increased ability to deal with setbacks rather wallowing in pain-free lives, are sorely needed across America.
In brief, America’s patients and medical professionals need to grow up, to face pain in adult fashion, and to end crippling mindsets that lead to opioid addiction.
Americans are too Drugged Out to Work https://www.axios.com/many-americans-are-too-drugged-out-to-work-2467304330.html
Suicide rate among teen girls hits all-time high https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-08-04/suicide-rates-for-teenage-girls-hit-all-time-high-in-40-years
Belleville-based doctor arrested in alleged opioid ring https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/crime/2017/07/20/belleville-based-doctor-arrested-alleged-opioid-ring/494036001/