Why the American opiate addiction isn’t going away

America is in a dreadful opiate addiction crisis now. The response from the government and other institutions are not inspiring, even as this problem shaves off big chunks of the population every year. The reaction towards the addiction problem has always been to criminalize, underfund and underestimate its harrowing consequences. Recent data from the CDC now shows that opioid addiction has increased 60 percent since early 2000. Worse still, the problem is spreading its tentacles to women and high income earners.
In the sessions where ‘Make America Great Again’ policies are set, opioid addiction has been receiving little prominence. That’s until recently when it’s almost too late. The government has now come up with patch up policies to reduce the number of opiate painkillers out there. That’s just a mere dent in the far-stretching sea of opiates in the US. Lack of through-proof prevention and rehabilitation policies, together with underfunding could be enough fuel to keep the American opiate addiction expanding year after year.
In the past few years, it’s been much easier for people to access opiates than it’s been for them to get help. 80 % of addicts currently have no access to help. More and more opioids are getting prescribed even as fewer structures for treatment are put in place. The repealing of Obamacare, for instance, is a move that will undoubtedly lock out millions of addicts from receiving treatment. There is also little being done to increase access to opioid alternatives in pain management and recreation. Methadone treatment perhaps has helped many addicts get control over opiate addiction. Sadly, there are still many areas with no methadone clinics.
Junkies – that’s how minorities with an addiction problem are described. Stereotyping of addiction comes with substantial consequences for addicts. Those struggling with addiction need sympathy, love and care and not disdain by politicians in their ivory towers. Sadly, there is much of racial targeting going on, with many minority addicts ending up behind bars. But there is just no arresting of the opioid addiction problem, and building border walls will never help with that either. Addiction has no boundaries.
There is a legal grey area when it comes to synthetic opioids. Opioids are getting more addictive, powered by fentanyl. This drug is a synthetic opioid that’s almost 50 times more addictive than heroin. Today drug traffickers are lacing up their heroin with fentanyl. What’s worrying is that fentanyl gets delivered by mail to these drug traffickers who then openly sell the drug in their networks.
Fentanyl, responsible for the death of music legend Prince in 2016 is wake up call for the government to pay attention to ‘legal’ synthetic opioids. These include drugs like Pink that has been crisscrossing states and counties leaving behind death and suffering. Speaking on the addiction problem, NOW Entertainment boss Tony Fountain thinks that even if the government moves to illegalize possession of synthetic opioids, it’s highly improbable that addiction levels will reduce. He says there are many systemic issues involving opioid addiction that need to be addressed.
The country has just now woken up to the opiate addiction, but this is an issue that started long ago. It’s undeniable that much has been done to reduce the number of deaths and reduce dependency, but if recent statistics are to go by, we are failing terribly. More needs to be done before opioid addiction brings this beautiful planet to its knees.

Tony Fountain