The Opioid Epidemic in America

November 16, 2017

Opioids in America, although not a recent problem has developed into an increasing issue throughout the country as overdoses and abuse continue to rise. The drugs related to the term “opioid” stem from the plant opium which has been used medically as well as recreationally for the euphoric effects it gives the user. The poppies of opium have been cultivated since ancient Mesopotamia for those properties and have since developed into a very accessible drug which can be ingested in pill form, smoked or injected.

Although opioids do have medicinal value they are highly addictive and easily accessible which is what makes them so dangerous. Since 1999 the number of opioid-related deaths has quadrupled with more than six out of every ten drug overdoses involving opioids. This dramatic increase has driven Trump to release this statement Thursday, October 26, “This epidemic is a national health emergency, nobody has seen anything like what is going on now.” Currently, the funding for combating this epidemic is still under question but the Trump Administration is looking at funding from FEMA, although limited now due to hurricane relief efforts, and funding from Congress.

As this epidemic continues to grow at an alarming rate with 91 deaths in America per day this is a paramount issue in our country. If this epidemic doesn’t scare you it should, every three weeks there is a 9/11 in America and it comes from opioids. This problem doesn’t respond to threats of war, you can’t increase government spending to fix it and you can’t reason with it.

With all of that in mind, there are safer options other than opioids for medical use, such as medical marijuana. By using medical marijuana instead of opioids the opioid epidemic would be dampened largely because many people addicted to opioids gain their addiction through being prescribed the drugs. The danger opioids after becoming addicted to a smaller dosed prescribed form of the drug only increases. Once addicted to a smaller dose the user may wish for the same high but more intense so they seek out heroin or fentanyl. Heroine and fentanyl are two very dangerous drugs, especially when bought on the street, unregulated and unmonitored without knowing the contents. Americans struggle with these drugs has just started to climax and time will only tell how our government handles it.

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