Ninety people per day now. Ninety people per day die from opioid overdoses across the U.S. Two years ago is was closer to forty per day.
Ninety deaths. Every single day. How did we get here?
Big pharma marketing. MDs giving refill after refill. Insurers wanting to cut detox stays and inpatient costs for a better profit margin. Bias in the recovering community against those that need replacement therapy. Large cities with no clean needle programs. Medicine cabinets without locks. Stigma around getting help. Skyrocketing Fentanyl production in China. The outdated and deadly view that this is an embarrassment rather than an epidemic. On-line "pharmacies." The prescribing of high addictive potential opioids for non-terminal patients and low level surgeries. Denial. Mexican cartels. The factors are complex.
What is your piece of the solution? Talk openly about it. Get informed. Say no to dealers and doctors. Speak the language of treatment and get narcan trained. Attend community forums. Advocate with your insurer to get your loved ones what they need to succeed. Know the telltale signs.
Break the cycle, break the stigma, break the silence. Safe lives.
Kelly Swan is a counselor, educator, program developer, community activist and a person in long-term recovery.
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