As I have grown older and become more aware of what is happening in my surroundings, I have noticed issues across America that I see and hear about daily. A huge problem that I am concerned about is the amount of deaths due to heroin overdoses. My father and brother both work in the emergency medical field, so I have heard multiple stories of overdoses that happen all around my community on a regular basis. Because I see this happening in my small community, I imagine that it is much worse in other areas of this country.
Here is some information and statistics that I found on this topic from national organizations and news websites. According to “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse”, “Prescription opioids are similar to, and act on the same brain systems affected by heroin and morphine.” This means that heroin gives people the same feeling that a prescription opioid would. This makes an easy link for people who were taking prescriptions opioids to make a switch to heroin once they are off of that prescription. In “ Prescription Drugs are Leading to Heroin addictions” it states: “Marijuana users are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin than people who don’t use drugs. Cocaine users have a 15-fold risk but people addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.” In other words, people who have been on prescription opioids are the most likely out of all other drug users to become addicted to heroin. This is important because if there is any way to prevent the use of opioid drugs, than the use of heroin will most likely go down and that will lead to less deaths in America. According to “Prescription Drugs are Leading to Heroin Addictions”, “ In 1991, 76 million prescriptions were written for opioids. By 2011, that number had nearly tripled to 219 million.” This shows that the number of opioid prescriptions that are being prescribed to people are not only increasing, but doing so rapidly and will continue to unless something is done about it. In “International Statistics” it states, “Everyday in the US, 2,500 youth (12-17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.” “International Statistics” shows us that these medications are readily available for the youth to obtain easily. Once they become addicted, it is very difficult to help them to get rid their dependence on this drug.
I understand that the use of heroin and prescription drug abuse is a hard thing to monitor, but if there is any possible alternative to opioid painkillers that is less addictive, it could lead to a decrease in death rates that are currently high due addiction and misuse of drugs. Prescription opioids are the leading cause to heroin addictions and if less of these prescriptions were given, than most likely less people would become addicted to heroin in the long run. I know that restrictions have already been put in place on opioid medications, but more could be placed, such as stricter requirements on who doctors are allowed to prescribe opioid medications to. Another solution could be reducing the amount of time a person can be prescribed on an opioid painkiller. The longer amount of time a person is on an opioid, the more they will become dependent and addicted to it and the harder it will be to get off of it.
President, the purpose of writing this letter is not only to inform you of a growing problem in our wonderful country, but to ask you to make a change. I know that you have plenty of other things on your plate to take care of right now, but I ask that you take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of the people who have to tell the families that their loved one has passed away due to an incident that could possibly have been prevented if the laws on these drugs were stricter. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who have to look the crying mothers and fathers in the eyes and tell them that they have lost their child due to a drug. Please make this country an even greater country by taking this concern into consideration and making a change.
“America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse” National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016
“International Statistics” Foundation for a Drug-Free World. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016
“Prescription Drugs are Leading to Heroin Addictions” Healthline. Healthline News, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016