By Viviana Perez
HHS Secretary Tom Price said, “We lose a Vietnam [War] every single year due to drug overdoses”. In other words, because of drug overdoses we lose about 200,000 to 250,000 people every year. Currently Ohio has an opioid epidemic, higher than any other state in the United States.
Opioids are very addictive painkillers, which are over prescribed by doctors all over the country. In 2015, 240 million opioids were prescribed, which is roughly enough for every adult in the general population.
Addicts do not only affect themselves but they also have a major impact on their friends, and family. A Samueli Academy parent said “The older daughter of one of my cousins would have to take care of her younger sisters because my cousin would not come home or would be out all day”. Since the father of the children would be too busy trying to fulfill the desire of the high he gets from the drugs, he left them. When he left them to go do drugs, the oldest daughter had to take care of her younger siblings. This shows how people who are addicted to drugs such as opioids have a negative impact on their family and friends.
In order for addicts to fulfill the high that the drugs give them, they’ll do anything for these drugs. For example, a Samueli Academy parent said that their cousins “Would steal from stores, they abandoned their kids to be out doing drugs. Didn't have jobs.” It shows how an addict will go to extreme lengths to obtain a high that is only temporary.
If you take an opioid as prescribed then you shouldn’t have any issues. When you become dependent on the painkillers is when you start to become addicted to it. Jason Camero, a freshman at Samueli Academy explains why he didn’t by stating, “I knew that they were addictive, and I knew that I didn’t want to be dependent it on them so you took as little as needed”. Although he took opioids, he only took them as prescribed so that he didn’t develop an addiction.
For those who need help there are several resources, such as SAMHSA: Substance abuse and mental health services administration. It is a “confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders”. SAMHSA is a website, and a hotline, they receive “an average of over 65,000 [calls] per month”. If you ever need anyone to talk to you can always contact the SAMHSA hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
“I’ve been clean for seven years but still think about using heroin everyday. Sometimes the thought is fleeting, but sometimes it scares me how long I think about using. Whenever it gets to be too much, I also think about the hopelessness of that time in my life. Recovery can be a struggle, but it’s a struggle that gives me my life today.” In other words, Although it is hard to recover from using drugs, it is very much possible.
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