Despite the fact that heroin deaths continue to rise, the public and media are losing interest. For a while opiate overdoses were a news item, but now it’s difficult to find a story. Political craziness pretty much dominates the news. Why should the average person care?
Addiction is a national problem that can affect anyone. Just about every family has someone who’s battling with a drinking or drug problem – a cousin, an uncle, a grandparent, etc. A problem such as addiction does great damage to society. Even if you don’t know anyone who has a drug problem, you’re likely paying higher insurance and health care costs due the effects of untreated addiction. The more we know about addiction the better able we’ll be to find solutions. Here’s a few statistics:
- Nearly 23 million Americans—almost one in 10—are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
- More than two-thirds of people with addiction abuse alcohol.
- The top three drugs causing addiction are marijuana, opioid (narcotic) pain relievers, and cocaine.
Heroin has recently become a major problem, again. Overall, there’s been a reduction in young people using drugs, so maybe we’re on the road to finding solutions, but as the statistics show, addiction is still a huge problem. Heroin is problematic because the addiction to heroin is so profound, and everyone who uses it is at high risk of overdose and death. Despite the fact that heroin deaths continue to rise, there’s still a lack of access to quality treatment. The effects of managed care blocking access to treatment decades ago caused many treatment facilities to go out of business. Even the facilities that are still in business have a hard time finding quality therapists who’re entering the field.
Until addiction is treated like the medical condition it is there’ll be a lack of quality treatment. But until people have a good understanding of addiction there won’t be a push to treat it as a medical condition.