President Donald Trump has acknowledged that overdose deaths are “a tremendous problem in our country.”
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 8, he stated that this epidemic threatens everybody, “young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities.”
Suicide has had an impact on my life since I was a young child.
My grandfather completed suicide when I was just 5 years old. I saw the impact on my family from a child’s eyes, but the true depth of that impact wouldn’t come to pass until later in life.
So often when we speak about mental illness and substance use disorders, we talk about numbers: the number of people who have died from overdoses; the number of people who take antidepressants; the cost of mental health to society at large.
However, at the Kennedy Forum Illinois in December, keynote speakers put a face and soul to addiction.
Almost a century has passed, but these words continue to ring true and speak to our current tragic opiate crisis.
This crisis has touched almost everyone I have met and has spared no demographic group. The silver lining in this cloudy sky is the mobilization and alignment of legislators, medical professionals, the public and the insurance industry on wiping out this epidemic. Fortunately, changes have occurred rapidly that foretell a positive direction.
With the breakneck speed at which health care research is advancing, it’s logical to argue that medical knowledge is outpacing medical practice, especially in behavioral health.
That’s why it’s important for Beacon Health Options (Beacon) to seek out the tools health professionals need to stay abreast of the latest advancements in evidence-based care.
It’s not always easy to look in the mirror, especially at my age when the blemishes of experience start to crop up as brown spots and fine (or not-so-fine) lines.
However, my age has also taught me that the real difficulty of looking in the mirror is beyond a skin-deep reflection. I had an experience recently on my way to a hair appointment that forced a look beyond the fine lines.
I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.
I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.
Everyone seems to have a theory about addiction.
Some say it’s a character flaw. Just say no. Others say it’s a victimization. Society has done me wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous says it’s a spiritual emptiness. Find your version of God, and you will find your way. Then, there are neuroscientists who say it’s a chronic brain disease while others say it’s a chronic societal disease.
Our country’s “War on Drugs” began in 1971 with President Nixon’s declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one in the United States.”
In addition to drugs as a symbol of youthful rebellion and radicalization, America’s new home-turf war was fueled by a growing literature base supporting the biological theory of addiction. However, one of the most interesting experiments to emerge from that era challenged this biological view. It became known as “Rat Park.”
In February, President Obama proposed a FY17 budget that allocates $1.1B in new funding to address the opioid use disorder crisis in the United States.
Whatever one’s politics (or general anxieties about the 2016 election season), we all agree that something must change. Despite the best efforts of policymakers, health care professionals, and communities to combat this problem, opioid deaths continue to rise, prompting the question: Why is the epidemic so pervasive?