Opioid addiction is one of the most prevalent health issues that Americans face in 2016. The opioid epidemic is a wide-spread issue that can affects people of all ages and backgrounds, destroying lives and causing deaths by the thousands. It is also a disease that carries with it a heavy amount of stigma. This makes it much more difficult for people who are suffering from addiction to get the help they need to get better. The best thing we can all do for people suffering from opioid addiction is to educate ourselves on how to remove the stigma this disease carries with it.
On June 22nd this year, the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, traveled to Knoxville, TX, to speak in the city’s town hall about addiction. He spoke honestly about this disease that is becoming an epidemic in the US, and laid out a plan to help combat this problem. This is a crucial step in the right direction. By speaking openly about something that is no more or less a disease than diabetes, we can begin coming up with ways to help those who are suffering from opioid addiction.
Treating it Like an Illness
Many people think that addiction is a behavioral issue, something that can be easily fixed with a bit of self-control. This is not the case. Addiction is a very real disease that most people need help overcoming. By understanding this, communities can help build channels of communication that sufferers can take advantage of when they are trying to get better. We need to bring this disease out into the open to be able to help those who need it and to help put the breaks on the epidemic before it completely envelopes our society.
Access to Medical Assistance
We need to make sure that everyone who is suffering from opioid addiction has away of accessing medical help. By setting up free clinics and recovery centers, we can make it possible for people who are addicted to start down the path to recovery.
By taking the time to learn about opioid addiction, we can help ourselves and those who are going through this. When we begin treating addiction like any other disease, we will start seeing more effective recovery measures in place and begin to see this epidemic shift towards a more manageable size.