News of falling opioid-related overdosing rates seemed to me like good news this week pointing to the opioid crisis easing up. As I read through the news article it was revealed that these statistics may not reflect a plateau in the opioid crisis as the reduction in deaths could be due to a wider distribution of Narcan. While the news of fewer deaths is certainly uplifting, my spirits were dampened when I started perusing the online personal responses to this news.
There were people expressing their opinion that those who are using illicit opioids do not deserve any kind consideration or sympathy what-so-ever. Miriam Greenspan, an internationally known psychotherapist published author, and mother of a heroin addict wrote an article called, Letting Them Die: The Stigma Of Heroin Addiction And The Expanding Epidemic that was published in the Huffington Post. Here she points out, “Addiction is a disease. That’s what the science tells us. But culturally, addiction is still largely viewed as a visible stamp of depravity.”
Those responding to the news article were understandably upset that the opioid crisis created a knee-jerk reaction with fewer opioids being prescribed overall. I explain this dilemma in detail in my new book, “Natural Therapies for Overcoming Opioid Dependency”. The problem with mandatory limits on opioids is that those with intractable pain are cut off from their source of prescribed medicine. Unfortunately, these patients are often forced to seek out elicit sources for their much-needed medication. I think that the correlation is lost on many, as the facts (noted in the book) are that 80% of heroin users were initially prescribed opioid pain medication by their MD for legitimate pain syndromes.
As Ms. Greenspan points out in her article, “The new face of heroin is young, well-educated, and white. The idea of addiction as a disease has made some cultural headway precisely because we have seen the addicts and they are us.” It is vital that we understand that any family can be affected by the opioid epidemic, especially if you or your loved one is suffering from pain. At first, those finding alternative pain medications will buy black-market opioid pills. As the realization that the cost of pills is exorbitant, they too will likely end up turning to the more economical heroin in desperation. As a nation, we do not need one more subject that divides us into rivaling sub-groups; none of us benefit from opioid addiction, and none of us are immune. We can all find compassion for one another and common ground during this difficult time as we are more alike than different.
#acupuncture #pain #opioid #chinesemedicine #opioidcrisis #opiooidepedimic #opioidtreatment