Easing human pain through medicinal opioids is derived from centuries of remedy methods and techniques. Medicinal opioids trace as far back as the sixteenth century as laudanum, an opium was prepared in an alcoholic painkiller. Though very effective and powerful, opiates can be highly addictive. Because of its partly recreational purposes, one of the most active substances in opium is morphine, which was named after the Greek God of Dreams, Morpheus. What helped ease (and addict) American Civil War soldiers in the early nineteenth century, as morphine began being extracted from opium in pure form, has now become a national epidemic. The uses and benefits are compared to the death and devastation of the highly addictive nature of opiates, most commonly abused as heroin. The epidemic has caused pressure on medical practitioners and government legislators and officials alike. The concerns are raised considering the growing abuse that struck with the accessibility of it, and several facts are drawn upon as causes and effects of the crisis. In 1971, President Richard Nixon first used the term “war on drugs,” the term influenced greatly the way that people think and react to drug abuse. The complex issue further complicates as implications of race are brought to light. The suggestions embark on how attitudes about prevention and abuse are manifested. Especially at the federal level, the opioid epidemic carries backstories in efforts to try and stop the use, or to limit it in certain regions, and with judgement on the intentions and viability.

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Current State:

The opioid epidemic, though largely influenced and an effect of many contributing factors, has a large scale effect that brings the nation down holistically. Its effects are definitive and madly destructive. In a NYT special report “inside a killer drug epidemic: a look on the nation’s opioid epidemic,” the severity of the epidemic comes to light as it is so commonly distributed. Shockingly, the drugs are smuggled throughout the country through interstates and out of “pill mill” clinics. But opioids include heroin as much as pain relievers used and available by legal prescription.  When taken for a short time, they be safe. Misuse comes in the form of overconsumption at once or without prescription because of the euphoric and pain relieving sensation. Some of the recent coverage of accounts reflecting the severity include overdosing in dollar store aisles, librarians training on how to help someone undergoing an overdose, and addicts speed dialing the only doctors in the county able to prescribe a medication. Public health officials remark it as the worst drug crisis in American history. Drug overdoses surpassed gun homicides in 2015 for the first time. With so many issues culminating from this one crisis, the role that law enforcement and health professionals alike play in addressing and controlling it becomes controversial and generally discussed. Essentially, one of the greatest being should it be an issue that is dealt regarding criminal acts, or is it an issue of victims falling into unhealthy lifestyles and is it up to the health community?


     Prevention and Treatment regarding opiates are long discussed and heavily influenced by many factors. Research continues on the links and topics of heroin and opiates for a better understanding of the complexities. Interestingly, cities have taken various approaches to the national issue, as it is distinct regionally and affects people differently. New ways in combating the issue include the consumption and treatment usage of laughing gas, trigger point injections, and a therapy harp rather than opiates in one New Jersey Hospital emergency hospital. This alternative may offer less risk of addiction and still provide the same help intended. At least in an emergency rooms, the treatments for fast acting painkillers rather than the accumulation of the opiates after procedural help seem like viable options. The creation of safe consumption facilities has also sparked controversy for the future of the opioid epidemic. Safe consumption facilities, in which addicts are permitted clean syringes and needles to inject themselves with, raise questions about how the issue might be even more facilitated and perpetuated rather than attacked. Essentially, the attendees, who are addicts, are provided those resources and permissibly able to smoke crack, or inject heroin, however, under supervised measures. These alternatives shape the way that one views drugs and drug consumption. The future of the opioid epidemic is ultimately dependent on the people’s discontent. Where the issues on the development and severity of consequential declaring a “war on drugs” had expanded itself, what people choose to do about the crisis now changes how to be aware and able to hold those accountable for the facilitation accountable.

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