Dear future President,
I am writing to you in regard to the growing drug abuse epidemic that is plaguing our nation. While drug abuse can range from tobacco products to alcohol, my main concern is the progressive issue in prescription drug abuse along with heroin. The over prescribing of pain medication and opioid based medicines such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine has led to a spike in deaths all across the United States. Excess pills are being sold to support addicts or people become addicted themselves by having such easy access to these narcotics. According to NIDA “Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some individuals reported switching to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids”. It has been proven that prescription drugs are a gateway drug to the cheaper opioid alternative heroin.
Opioid overdoses have increased drastically over the years. “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014.” according to ASAM. They then go on to say that 18,893 overdose deaths due to prescription drugs and 10,574 overdoses due to heroin in the same year. While this problem can affect almost anyone it has its biggest impact on teens and young adults. It is amazing what the statistics show in kids between the ages of 12-17. Not only did prescribed medication nearly double among adolescents, the ASAM states that, “an estimated 18,000 adolescents had a heroin use disorder in 2014”. Although these statistics are from two years ago I have witnessed a growth of the problem in my own community. Many of the young adults in my family have fallen victim to addiction.
Watching my sister grow up as an amazing student in school my family never suspected that heroin addiction would ever be a problem. I haven’t been exposed to the absolute worst parts of addiction but I have seen enough to know that it truly is a disease and a deadly one at that. Because of the growing problem, treatment options have began expanding. They now have an epi-pen like device that you can use to reverse the effect of an overdose. Although it is very controversial the medication Suboxone is als another treatment option. While Suboxone helped my sister end her addiction it may not be the best treatment for everyone. Recent studies have also shown that Suboxone is becoming abused as well. According to Deborah Sontag, Addiction Treatment with a Dark Side, “Buprenorphine (Suboxone) has both become medication and dope.”
I understand addiction is a hard thing for the government to control or stop but getting a stronger grip on prescription distribution would be a big improvement. Issuing regulations on quantities of medication handed out at a time and giving prescriptions to people who actually need them. I attended a rally this summer to raise awareness for addiction and a speaker there stated that when her daughter was given three stitches she was prescribed two months worth of pain medication. Many doctors have been sanctioned for offenses such as excessive narcotic prescribing and that is where the root of this issue comes from and would be a good place for change to start.
Https://www.facebook.com/NIDANIH. "Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications." DrugFacts:. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
“Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts and Figures.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. Web. 2 Nov. 2016.
Sontag, Deborah. "Addiction Treatment With a Dark Side." The New York Times. The New York
Times, 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.