A huge source of frustration for those who have firsthand experience with the opioid crisis is that no one seems to care. Officials say they will “do more” but often fail to elaborate.
This is a topic Scott Silverman discusses during a recent appearance on The Opioid Matrix podcast. He once used the analogy of a plane crash to describe the number of people who died from overdose each day. Now, that number doesn’t fit. It’s higher.
Nearly 400 people die per day from a drug overdose—and no one with any real power seems concerned about fixing the problem.
Why is no one taking a stand against the opioid crisis?
Stigma likely has something to do with it. Politics aside, all you need is a quick Google search to see how Hunter Biden’s addiction was weaponized against Joe Biden during the election.
Why did his son’s addiction matter? The implications are something like this:
- Joe Biden is an unfit parent.
- This dreg of society may have access to the White House.
- Once an addict, always an addict.
Joe Biden stood by his son and managed to win the presidency. Still, that could have been a dangerous move. Many wanted him to shun his child because of a substance use disorder. Perhaps some politicians who spoke out against Biden now feel that supporting those with SUDs is hypocritical.
After all, these addicts do it to themselves.
If that’s your attitude, we’ve got news for you: Many of today’s health problems could be prevented by living a healthier lifestyle and having more self-control. However, no one bats an eye when someone with a sweet tooth needs a filling. Insurance covers weight loss surgery and diabetic supplies.
Where is the outrage?
You could argue that someone addicted to junk food, or even cigarettes, doesn’t endanger others, while alcoholics and drug users drive under the influence and commit crimes to get their fix.
Doesn’t that mean we should put more effort into helping those with SUDs?
The truth is, most people have a sweet tooth and understand the innocent satisfaction that comes from having their favorite candy, ice cream, or soda. Not everyone understands opioid addiction.
Let’s start listening to those who do.
Scott Silverman is an expert on addiction and the opioid crisis.
Politicians will always choose the most popular route. For instance, many states have decriminalized personal-use drugs. The public wanted it, and it’s a good thing. Addicts don’t need jail; they need recovery.
However, many states are taking it too far by not only decriminalizing possession but also legalizing marijuana. Scott points out that Portugal decriminalized most drugs, but they also increased access to recovery. After this legislation, Portugal saw a decrease in HIV infection, prison population, and drug deaths.
There is no denying that addiction has a domino effect. Fighting the opioid crisis must address every single domino, or it will not be effective.
As Scott says during the podcast, we cannot keep “taking a squirt gun to a forest fire.”
Let’s do better.
And let’s ask our officials and politicians to do better.
The Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose has excellent resources for reaching out to government officials about combatting the current opioid crisis and making recovery more accessible.
If you are facing a situation with a loved one, spouse, or even a child that has started to spiral, please call Scott at 619-993-2738.
(c) 2023 Scott H Silverman. All Rights Reserved.