Bryan N. Minnesota

Opioid Epidemic

This letter touches base on an epidemic that is very important to me.

Dear Future President,

We live in a society affected by the worst opioid epidemic in this country's history in my opinion. The greater part of this epidemic is attributed to the heroin epidemic across the United States. What most people do not know is that it is more than heroin affecting people across the country. Opioids include many other drugs like OxyContin, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl. These drugs are just as harmful as the other, but in their case they are prescribed to patients who are in pain. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, a 2014 survey attributed 10,574 overdose deaths to be caused by heroin, yet 18,893 overdose deaths were caused by prescription pain killers. This helped make drug overdose the number one cause of accidental death. These numbers are extremely high, and they are preventable.

In elementary school I was provided with the D.A.R.E. program. If you are unaware of this program, it stands for "Drug Abuse Resistance Education." In my experience with the D.A.R.E. program it has taught me plenty of things. The first thing I learned is that it doesn't work. We got the opportunity to have seniors from the high school visit us, and they told us the obvious statement: "Drugs are bad". They took a pledge with us to vote that we would never do drugs, and after our pledge we got to find out who won the D.A.R.E. Award. To win the award, students had to write an essay on why one should stay away from drugs and alcohol. As I aged, I learned that those seniors that talked to us in elementary abused drugs and alcohol. The worst part of this is some winners of the D.A.R.E. Award have done the same.

Lastly, I leave you with a story. "'This is unprecedented': 174 heroin overdoses in 6 days in Cincinnati". This is the article title to a story in the Chicago Tribune. 174 heroin overdoses happened over the course of six days in Cincinnati, Ohio. That is averaging 29 people a day who overdose from heroin. The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that 94% of respondents to the survey conducted in 2014 for patients dealing with opioid addiction claim that they chose heroin over prescription pain medication because heroin is cheaper. This often starts because patients misuse and share leftover medication with peers. In an essence, my question to the future president is: What will you do to help with the opioid epidemic that has affected so many families in the United States?