The Conflict of a Lifetime

“Opioid misuse and addiction is an ongoing and rapidly evolving public health crisis, requiring innovative scientific solutions” (Volkow & Collins, para.1) Opioid overdoses took the lives of over 42,000 American citizens in 2015 alone. It is important to note that half of the people that become addicted to opioids were able to get them from their family and friends. The crisis of opioid addiction that plagues citizens across the nation can potentially be solved by using other prescriptions to help ease pain, educating citizens of the effects and dangers of these drugs, and having meetings of people who are recovering from addiction.

Opioids are not the only drugs effective in easing pain for those suffering after surgery or other severe pain. “We also need to rely more heavily on other medications in our arsenal, such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, muscles relaxants and nerve agents. And health care providers need to be innovative and creative and find different ways to implement pain medication delivery, using methods like steroid injections and epidural catheters” (Corley, para.15). Acetaminophens like Tylenol and pain relievers like ibuprofen work well to help eliminate multiple types of pain. There are also muscle relaxants like baclofen that work to solve muscle spasms and relax the muscles. In the last few years, there have been opioid pain relievers in the works that are powerful yet not addictive. The development of other medications that are less likely to become addictive or could be used in ways other than their intended use is an advantage in everyday society where drugs can be crushed and snorted or injected and abused possibly creating an addiction. “The third area of focus is chronic pain treatment: overprescription of opioid medications reflects in part the limited number of alternative medications for chronic pain. Thus, we cannot hope to prevent opioid misuse and overdose without addressing the treatment needs of people with moderate-to-severe chronic pain” (Volkow & Collins, para.10). Everyone needs to know about how these medications work and what the effects of them can be in the long run.

Education is considered one of the most important things in the world. This should also be the case when it comes to opioids and other prescribed addictive drugs. “With mainstream media coverage of the opioid crisis at an all-time high, Tarter Hamlet has found more engaged patients who are concerned about their own opioid use following surgery” (Heath, para.15). It is crucial for everyone to know the dangers and effects that certain drugs can have on your body and the possibility of addiction after the first dose. Patient education is one of the most important pieces of the medical world. If a patient doesn’t know about how a surgery works and what the doctor is actually doing to their body they’ll likely be hesitant to accept treatment even if it will help them stay alive longer. “At the heart of this is prescribing opioids alongside strong patient education. While providers must enable patients in need with the medications that will help them, they must also ensure patients understand the risks associated with these drugs” (Heath, para.4). By knowing the necessary information about these drugs and being able to identify addiction, those that need it can find the help that they need.

Coming alongside the people that struggle with addiction and getting them help can encourage their progress on the road to recovery. One of these ways is support groups like AA. “Many churches have turned to relational ministries, such as Celebrate Recovery and Narcotics Anonymous, opening their doors for the community to find assistance and gather for support. Anyone who has walked through the demanding process of recovery will tell you that healthy, safe community is essential to healing and long-term results” (Stetzer, para.16). As a community we should be bringing people in and gathering around them to support them and help them get through the addiction. Having somewhere safe where the addicted feel supported while they’re recovering can help them have successful results that will keep them on the path to excellent health. Although, not everyone may agree with these solutions.

Everyone has their own ideas of how we can solve the opioid crisis. Some may say that the church should stay out of it and that it is up to the doctors to fix the problem. That is not entirely true. While it is true that doctors are the ones that prescribe these drugs that can be so addictive, they do not prescribe them with the intention of helping someone become an addict. “And after a long day, I’ve often found myself asking the sobering question: Am I contributing to the opioid epidemic?” (Corley, para.3). The church, politicians and your average person on the street are the ones that are going to help slow down the spread of this epidemic that has broken out across the country.

Not only can family and friends be the supplier for someone’s addiction, but they can also help prevent and treat it. A family’s support is a crucial element in not only preventing addiction but in helping a member overcome their addiction. Americans together can also help to prevent addiction and lead those people down the road to recovery. This can be done by educating the people about the risks of these drugs for pain, setting up meetings so that addicts have support and trying other medications and solutions to help ease pain.

Works Cited

Corley, Jacquelyn. “To fix the opioid crisis, doctors like me may have to let patients be in

pain.” NBC News, NBC Universal, 9 Jan. 2018, www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/fix-

opioid-crisis-doctors-me-may-have-let-patients-be-ncna836141.

Heath, Sara. “Using Patient Education Technology to Combat Opioid Misuse.” Patient

Satisfaction News, Xtelligent Healthcare Media, patientengagementhit.com/news/using-

patient-education-technology-to-combat-opioid-misuse. Accessed 1 Apr. 2019.

Stetzer, Ed. “The Church’s Response to the Opioid Crisis: Practical Tool Kit for Faith-Based

Leaders.” Christianity Today, 18 Jan. 2018,

www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/january/churchs-response-to-opioid-crisis-

practical-tool-kit-for-fa.html.

Volkow, Nora D., and Francis S. Collins. “The Role of Science in Addressing the Opioid

Crisis.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Massachusetts Medical Society, 27 July

2017, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr1706626.

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