" We’re living with a virus-like disease sweeping our nation. Nearly every community is affected. The rates of death rise year after year. Between 1990 [...]
We’re living with a virus-like disease sweeping our nation. Nearly every community is affected. The rates of death rise year after year. Between 1990 and 2015, the percentages of death more than quadrupled. We lost more people than the population of Pittsburgh.
It’s the second-leading killer of men in their thirties, making the disease an even bigger threat to their health than being murdered with firearms.
This killer sweeping the nation: opioid use.
Compared to its peers, America is an anomaly. In the U.S., people die from opioids at higher rates than in Western Europe, Canada, or Australia. The U.S. ranks fourth, behind Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
If it were a virus, the opioid epidemic would likely be dealt with very differently. Remember the Ebola virus? A single casualty on American soil caused fear nationwide, and each suspected or confirmed case was met with an immediate response from public health officials. In contrast, opioid use lurks behind the scenes. Its victims, along with their friends and family members, frequently are hidden from public view due to the shame surrounding the disease.
For too long, opioid users have been seen as people who make bad choices instead of individuals who need medical care to treat their addiction and measures to prevent them from becoming addicted in the first place.
Government agencies at the local, state and federal levels must take action – urgent action – to help combat the threat opioids pose to American lives.”