But no longer.
Opioid addiction is an illness just as diabetes and hypertension are illnesses. It is not a moral failure or weakness of character. Addicts need treatment, not punishment. To stem the tide of the opioid epidemic, the White House is proposing these changes (http://1.usa.gov/1RoVtTj):
• Improve access to treatment for addiction. Patient needs far exceed available resources.
• Increase financial support to communities to recruit helthcare professionals where there are …show more content…
This small community has been struck hard by HIV due to addicts injecting street opioids with “dirty needles and syringes” (http://wapo.st/1T9UV1R).
The Board of Regents of the University of
Wisconsin System; April 24, 2016
The United States leads the world in the use of painkillers. We use 15 times per person what all other countries use. Stated in another way, the United States uses 64.9% of all the world daily doses of painkillers. Germany is a distant second at 8.7%. (http://bit.ly/23hxFD3). TWO PATIENT CASE REPORTS
The phone call came in the afternoon informing me that Marty had died of a heroin overdose. Another person was with her when she injected the heroin, but ran off when she crashed. A call to 911 or access to an Opioid Overdose Rescue Kit might have saved her life.
Marty abused drugs as a teenager, settling on heroin as her drug of choice. She was just 21-years-old when her parents learned she was abusing heroin. Her mother insisted she enter treatment as a condition of living at home. Marty then joined my outpatient substance abuse treatment …show more content…
Her father, a well-to-do dentist, voiced his anger and disappointment. He wanted Marty to move out of the home. Her mother, fearing that Marty might overdose, wanted to keep her home 24/7 so she could “watch her like a hawk.” She described what was happening to their family as “our worst nightmare.”
The fighting between the parents was palpable. Marty did not appreciate or seem to care about the emotional pain her addiction was inflicting on her parents.
After three months of outpatient treatment, Marty tried one of the oldest tricks in the book. She came to my office unannounced at 5:00 PM on a Friday with two male friends demanding a prescription for Xanax®, a benzodiazepine. (Opioids can be deadly when used with benzodiazepines.) Marty had assumed I would quickly agree so I could finish my work for the week.
Marty refused to provide a urine sample for a drug test. It was clear her problem with drugs was only worsening. Marty needed more intensive treatment than I could provide on an outpatient basis. She needed to separate from drugs and from her drug-abusing friends. I insisted she go to rehab, but she refused. Angrily, she stormed out of my office without the prescription she