Dear Youth Voices,
One of the issues associated with drug abuse in America is the deadly, affordable heroin. At the root of this, we find that oftentimes, prescription pills are what users become addicted with first. But how can we overcome this predominantly American issue? The answer may seem simple, but in more ways than one, it is not.
People are relying on other people’s prescription pills, and then turning to heroin to get a high because of its cheapness. There is a link between prescription pills and heroin that makes people who have used controlled substances in the past more likely to become hooked on heroin later on, though it is more common with specific drugs such as OxyContin and morphine. In certain cities, such as drug abuse rates are sometimes three-times higher than normal. But as people become addicts, little is being done to help them recover, as many addicts are blamed for their own indulgence. How can we get away with our negligence when we leave the ignorant to suffer?
Because controlled substances are prescribed by professionals, people don’t register the very real risk to one’s health if the drugs are abused. Since 2003, one of the last known statistics indicates that over 11 million kids were being put on anti-depressants alone. In total, nearly 70 percent of Americans take prescription drugs of some kind, with the most popular being painkilling opioids and antidepressants- which have relatively high chances of being abused. The cycle of addiction is difficult to break, and it can have financially devastating effects. For their own reasons, people may give out their prescription pills, becoming the gateway between somebody and a havoc-inducing addiction to opioids. However, it could be said that the medical industry is as fault as much as the illegal dealers are.
Both the medical industry and drug dealers are connected through greed and profit, targeting those who are looking for a temporary escape rather than a long-term solution. The fact that medical professionals can be sued for not prescribing medication to those who express illness symptoms puts doctors in a box as to how much they can truly help a patient. The common theme of greed follows into those of which who are drug dealers themselves. While taking drugs shouldn’t be seen as inherently negative, dealers are constantly looking for regular buyers for their personal gain. This means that, even at high-schools or quiet suburban areas, not only illegal, but dangerous drugs are being distributed to vulnerable people.
What this gives incentive to is to stop this, but greed is insatiable as it is vast. Other than better drug education, there isn’t much of a way to prevent people from getting drugs on their own- much less than what they decide to do with prescription pills. A way that the damage of prescription drug abuse can be lessened would be to put more research into finding ways to combat depression and mental illnesses alike. The underlying problem to the medical industry is that prescriptions aren’t being sold to help, but rather to make profits. If more Americans give into the belief that a pill can heal more than a good lifestyle and professional person-to-person contact (such as a therapist), then the opioid machine grows.
There is some common ground, believe it or not, between illegal drug dealers and the American medical industry. What ties them together is material hunger without regards to the common public. And our own greed seems to always grow, even as people’s lives are wrecked in the background. More addicts need their stories to be put on a platform. Perhaps with their real, undramatized stories some stigma with drug addicts may be rid of. Then, we can begin to delve further into what may be changed at the heart of the medical industry for the benefit of people.
The Insatiable Opioid Machine by Anna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.