We are running out of ways to emphasize how dire the opioid overdose crisis has become. In 2015, United States drug overdose deaths exceeded 50,000; 30,000 involved opioids. There were more deaths from opioid overdose than not only from motor vehicle accidents, but also than from HIV/AIDS at the peak of the epidemic in 1995.
I have been an addiction professional and social worker since 1994. I started blogging in 2005 as the Clinical Director at Dawn Farm. I no longer work at Dawn Farm and am now the Director of Behavioral Medicine at a community hospital, and a lecturer at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Social Work.
Views expressed here are my own.
Keep in mind that the field, the contexts in which the field operates, and my views have changed over time.
View all posts by Jason Schwartz
One thought on “Sentences to ponder”
I’m old enough to remember when AIDS/HIV was called “GRID” (gay related immune deficiency) because it seemingly affected only those in that community. As such, it went largely ignored or overlooked by everyone else, for various reasons: while feeling bad for those afflicted, it didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t affect them; it was a ‘punishment’; it wasn’t even heard of/known. This changed abruptly, in my memory, due largely to the Ryan White case, the child who acquired the virus through a blood transfusion. All of a sudden everyone took notice because, ‘hey, I could catch this too’. And people were afraid ~ afraid of catching it in a myriad of ways; this changed as science advanced and narrowed the scope of transmittance, and through, again in my memory, the efforts of two women: Elizabeth Taylor, who made it her life’s work to bring attention and money to fund research and Princess Diana, who hugged people in the virus ward, laying to rest the idea that you could catch it through touch. NONE OF THIS WILL HAPPEN WITH THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC so it will, unless something drastic changes, continue to get worse, because the scope of who it affects will continue to remain the same subset of people, therefore large parts of the public won’t notice/won’t care/won’t bother/won’t know. It has been fueled by big pharma with doctor complicity and, as healthcare resources evaporate under the current regime, those afflicted with addiction will receive less and less help and die more and more frequently.
Comments are closed.