As Coronavirus Officially Becomes a Pandemic, Addiction Marches On
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely heard all about the Coronavirus and the efforts to contain it from spreading. Travel is being restricted, sporting events are being canceled altogether, and people are being quarantined. There is an urgency worldwide to make sure this thing doesn’t get out of hand. I don’t have much of an opinion on that because I’m not an expert in that field, however, it did cause me to pause and wonder about another type of urgency or lack thereof when it comes to addiction and the current opioid crisis.
It has been several years now since heroin made its big comeback, and we have since seen it evolve into even more dangerous drugs such as fentanyl. This has been an epidemic for a long time, and the efforts to contain the outbreak of prescription opioids and our country’s over-reliance on opioids for pain management never saw the urgency it needed before it became too late and the opioid crisis was upon us. Heroin didn’t make its huge comeback and the rise of fentanyl didn’t happen out of thin air. Opioid addiction spiked from the flood of pain killers on the market and eventually the streets, leading people to seek cheaper and stronger methods once it became too tiresome to keep up with the escalating tolerance and expense of pain killers. Enter heroin. Enter fentanyl. Enter a sweeping overdose problem that is taking lives by the minute.
While I don’t consider myself an expert on something like the Coronavirus or wish to make light of it, I do consider myself a well-versed when it comes to addiction. I’ve lived it, and I continue to gain new perspectives and knowledge about it every day as I now focus my efforts on helping people overcome it the same way I did. It is way past time we come together and focus on containing the spread of dangerously addictive drugs masquerading as prescription pain management for the people with mild injuries. Too many people turned a blind eye when it was clear by the mounting evidence linked directly to the growing number of overdoses that something dire was happening. Addicts are dying at record numbers and families across the globe are being left to grieve and wonder what could have been.
My frustrations aren’t with the proactive actions being taken to contain the Coronavirus, my frustrations continue to be with the way our country handled and continues to handle the opioid crisis. Where was this kind of urgency when heroin overdoses began spiking, even before the wrath of fentanyl? People are dying from addiction while opioids continue to be doctors’ go-to method for helping people deal with pain. In 2020 I would think the technology is there to where we can begin putting more resources into healthy alternatives and find the urgency to start fighting back against the opioid crisis. How many deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose need to happen before this gets the attention it has deserved for far too long?
While I continue to be hopeful every time I see someone get the help they need, make the necessary changes to their life and overcome drug addiction, I want to see us as a nation become more educated and aware of why addiction has become so bad in the first place, especially opioid addiction. My heroin addiction did not start with heroin, it started with Oxycodone and made the natural evolution to a far more dangerous and reckless lifestyle once I became addicted to them. I am not alone as this is the road so many unsuspecting consumers take before things spiral out of control. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.