LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What will it take to end the opioid crisis?

So, last week was the POTUS’s State of the Union address and many people are shocked and upset that Mr Trump only spend about 49 seconds talking about our nation’s opioid crisis.

This shouldn’t come as such a shock to anyone considering that although he handpicked a commission to come up with recommendations (many of which were very well received by public health and safety professionals and elected officials on both sides of the aisle) the man has done little more than make public pronouncements about the crisis and tout his idea to educate school children in how to stay off of drugs that is little more than recycling the DARE program and Nancy Reagan’s famous “Just Say No” campaign.

Meanwhile, while the man in the Oval Office makes his pronouncements and hurries off play golf at Mar-a-Lago on the taxpayer’s dime, we are losing Americans to opioid overdoses at an alarming rate and no one seems to be addressing the elephant in the room — how these people are getting hooked on the drugs that are killing so many.

A disproportionate amount of the victims of the opioid crisis aren’t getting hooked because they are pleasure seekers in search of the next big high. They didn’t start off as marijuana smokers and when they stopped getting their kicks from pot moved on to the “hard stuff.” No, many of them got hooked because of a doctor’s prescription.

While we’ve been DAREing to keep kids off drugs and telling them to “just say no,” we’ve been supporting the FDA’s approval of the pharmaceutical industry’s next big miracle pain pill and looking the other direction when those miracle pain pills get overprescribed and end up being abused.

Three things seem very evident to me and honestly, I’m shocked that these points aren’t evident to people with much more education and intelligence than me.

1. If we want to address this opioid crisis, we must go it alone without the help from the federal level because the man in the Oval Office isn’t going to move to do anything unless his caddy overdoses on the eighth hole of Mar-a-Lago.

2. We need to address the way many prescription drugs are being prescribed and address the issue that the doctors and pharmaceutical companies for years have been the biggest link in the opioid crisis and the biggest drug dealers in America.

3. We need to understand that drug treatment programs aren’t one size fits all. The people of Delaware who are suffering addiction need help and need treatment options that will work for them. I understand there are options out there but, it doesn’t seem like there are enough or they aren’t effective enough.

Hopefully, 2018 will be the year that we come together in our state to say “enough is enough” and we can actually address this crisis and save more lives than we are losing.

Ricky Shehorn

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