We need to work together to end addiction epidemic
This letter was intended as a response to the Feb. 9 News article about 23 people dying from opiate abuse in 11 days. Shortly after taking pen to paper, news surrounding and involving the opioid epidemic became a daily topic in the media. I commend The News for being a leader in exposing this epidemic, and devoting the time and attention that the issue so desperately needs.
How addiction is viewed plays largely in how successful we will be at overcoming this epidemic. There is a stigma attached to addicts, even to those who obtain treatment. While we may be slowly moving away from our “shaming and blaming” of people who suffer from addiction, public views are not changing fast enough. We must remember that addiction is a disease, affecting people of all races, socioeconomic status and geographic locations.
In 2015, an alarming number of people – 264 – died as a result of opiate overdoses, up from 128 deaths in 2014. What will the numbers climb to for 2016?
The damage caused by this epidemic is irreparable. We must rise above partisanship and find a workable solution to the single greatest threat we face as a nation. Let’s make addiction treatment available immediately. It will take entire communities, the state and the nation working together to end this epidemic. No one can be a bystander any longer.