Daniel L. Connecticut

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Prescription painkillers are causing young adults all over the nation to become addicted and even move to drugs such as heroin. Something must be done to limit prescription opioids from getting into the hands of young adults.

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,

I am a Sophomore at Staples High School in the town of Westport, Connecticut. Currently, an epidemic exists that threatens Americans and generations to come. Opioid abuse has become a problem that threatens each and every one of this great country’s people, particularly young adults. The situation is so problematic that in the last decade, heroin use has doubled among young adults. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, about 80% of the abuse of opioids, such as heroin, has arisen from the use of prescribed painkillers such as Percocet or Vicodin. Thus, in order to combat the plague of opioid abuse, action must be taken by you, whether that be limiting the number of prescriptions written and dispensed or restricting the aggressive marketing of pharmaceutical companies.

At some point in time, somebody has to draw the line. Somebody has to decide when it is time that we understand that there is a problem and that a solution exists. Why is this a growing epidemic? How can we stop it? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the issue of opioid abuse is likely caused by a couple different factors.

They include drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written and dispensed, greater social acceptability for using medications for different purposes, and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. These factors together have helped create the broad “environmental availability” of prescription medications in general and opioid analgesics in particular.

The broad “environmental availability” of prescription medications is precisely the reason why young adults are able to get their hands on painkillers and become addicted in the first place. This is not unsurprising considering that fact that in just 2012 alone, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication -- enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills, according to the CDC. The abundance of prescription medications is the direct cause of addiction to prescription opioids. Clearly there needs to be something done to either limit these prescriptions or restrict the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies and keep opioids out of the hands of young adults. You alone can be the one to end a generation of addiction to opioids. You can be the one to stop young adults from using prescription medications and leading themselves to heroin addiction. It is possible for our generation to be the one to end opioid addiction, we need you to stand with us on this issue.

The nature of this issue is incredibly personal. Opioid addiction affect real people everyday. These victims are not statistics, they are live human beings with a family and a life. I understand that this issue is even more personal for Mr. Trump as addiction to substances and abuse has been an issue that he has dealt with on a personal level, even with his own family. According to the New York Times, Freddy Trump, older brother of Donald Trump, died in 1981 at age 43 from alcoholism. This bleak story should serve as an example of what addiction to any substance can mean for a person. Not only does a victim suffer the self-harm, but their family bears an ultimate burden. They live knowing that they produced someone that after years of aspiration and expectations had lost it all to themselves. This issue is not for any one person to attend to. This is an issue where people are hurt and therefore, everybody should be compelled to handle the situation in any way possible. Will you not join the cause and end it forever?

To combat the America’s issue of opioid abuse, it is up to you to keep opioids like prescription painkillers and heroin out of the hands of young adults. There are multiple ways to do this, however the most effective way is to prevent teens from getting addicted in the first place. Limiting the amount of prescriptions that are written and hindering the aggressive marketing of pharmaceutical companies are extremely effective ways at preventing teens from becoming addicts and seeking out non-prescription opioids from the start. As president, it is up to you to support specific positions that will lead to a change for the better. As a highschool student I highly urge you to understand my thesis and hopefully lead the charge to end opioid abuse among young adults.


Daniel Leaf

Works Cited

"A Historic 1st: The Surgeon General Reaches out to All Drs for Help with a Vicious Epidemic." CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

By Doing So, This Event Will Be Independent of the Recurring Set of Events. "Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action." Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

Https://www.facebook.com/NIDANIH. "America's Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse." National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., 14 May 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

Horowitz, Jason. "For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother’s Suffering." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Jan. 2016. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

Staples High School


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