President Trump was expected to make a declaration on the Opioid National Health Crisis earlier this month, at the request of the anti-drug commission he organized. Trump did admit that drugs have become a “Crippling problem in The United States” at a press conference held at his private golf club. He comments that once you start “It makes your life very hard” and “very tough to get off of”. These are severe understatements considering the nationwide damage that has been done including a record-breaking 59,000 thousand death count due to opioid-related overdose. Trump vows to beat the heroin problem with stricter law enforcement and border control. While this was far from declaring a state of emergency, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who chairs the president’s anti-drug commission, has the facts and may be our only hope at creating any real solutions.
Governor Says It’s A National Health Crisis
Christie speaks up in an interview with CNN earlier this month. “ We have 9/11 scale lost every three weeks in America” a statistic that is being widely undermined by politicians and medical professionals. In his interview he requests the president declare the Opioid National Health Crisis, a national emergency. Imagine having a nation-shaking terrorist attack like the one we experienced in 2001, every three weeks. The cause is not suicide bombers coming from fanatic religious groups; the cause is right here in the United States.
Christie goes on the say that there are 142 drug overdoses every day in the United States alone, ¾ of which are from opioids. President Trump was asked what his plan was to overcome the heroin epidemic and his response was, “We have to stop the source, it’s flowing in from Mexico.” He goes on to say “I’m going to build a wall, a real wall” while it’s true that our heroin is being shipped in from Mexico as well as Afghanistan, Governor Christie sheds light on the source of addiction, not just the source of the heroin.
“Four out of five new heroin addicts in the country today, started on prescription opioids. So this problem is not happening, it’s not starting on our street corners, it’s starting in our doctor’s offices and our hospitals.”
What a relief to hear someone say this out-loud on national television. We’ve heard all sorts of outrageous reasons and solutions. This is the disturbing reality. One that our president has yet to publicly recognize. In Trump’s recent announcement about the crippling problem he states, “If you never take drugs, you never get hooked.” What a true statement that is. Jump visual to a clip of the president standing in front of a group of children with their right hands raised promising to never do drugs. A promise I made in Mrs. Jones 5th grade homeroom class during the D.A.R.E project. But at 21 years old, when I was prescribed opioid based painkillers for three months without any warning of addiction from my doctor, that contract became null.
While Trump announces the source to be Mexico and the solution to be a wall as well as educating our kids with statements like, “It’s really bad.” Governor Christie has solid recommendations for a viable solution. He recommends increased education for our doctors at medical schools and dental schools and mandatory continuing education for medical professionals.
I, in no way, am suggesting that doctors don’t currently have enough education or are ill-intentioned but I do wonder how it is possible that nationwide professionals, with one of the most rigorous education processes in America, are at the starting line of the worst health crisis in United States history. This crisis that has been growing for years and has shown no signs of slowing down with and has no official declaration of an Opioid National Health Emergency, which is needed for policies to change and for health care providers to re-examine the effectiveness of prescription painkillers.
I recently posted a personal blog to social media with similar facts and findings. Everyone had a similar story. Prescription opioids to treat everything from minor dental care to knee surgery. Absolutely no mention of risk for addiction or substance abuse, even when the patient had previous drug abuse treatment in their medical records. The Opioid National Health Crisis is not a secret even with a lack of official declaration. People are dying at unbelievable rates and I have some serious confusion about how a medical professional could hand over a bottle of pills to anyone, including young people, without a disclaimer that 15,000 people died from this last year, good luck.
I also received some feedback from a relative in the medical field concerned that I was questioning the intentions of doctors. I, in no way, want to make any negative statements towards anyone who has spent years of training with the intention of saving lives. Though, I do wonder, how an ER can take in so many heroin overdoses and then prescribe opiates for everything under the sun. Something isn’t adding up. I’ve been offered opioid-based pain killers twice by doctors since I got sober. The 500 mg Ibuprofen I asked for instead was absolutely sufficient for my pain relief both times. There seems to be a general norm in the medical community that opioids are the perfect treatment for pain.
My question is how and why is this happening?
- In 2015 we prescribed enough opiates in the United States to have every adult in this country to be fully medicated for three weeks.
- Overdose (mostly caused by opioids) is now the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50.
- 4 out of 5 of heroin addicts started on prescription opioids.
The correlation is clear. President Trump says we have to stop the problem at the source and we have successfully identified the source. I agree, if you never do drugs, you will never become addicted (but that is long-shot). If 30 million opioid prescriptions were not being handed out every year, we probably would not have 1.5 million heroin users. We are grateful that New Jersey Governor Christie has blatantly announced the source of our Opioid National Health Crisis and we have yet to see what will be done about it. Hopefully, soon, an executive order will be signed by The President so that this problem can truly be addressed.