Opioids: Anything But a Heroine
Opioid abuse is a deadly problem that is affecting communities across the United States. Some may say opioid abuse isn’t a major problem affecting our society. According to the Tribune “, 77% of people feel opioid abuse isn’t a major problem in their communities.” However, people are dying from overdoses at an increasing rate. According to the Town of Stony Point Judge Frank Phillips, “In the past, the most common drug charge that would come into my court was marijuana. Now, unfortunately, it is opioids.” Even the president declared opioid addiction as a public health crisis due to its growth rates. A feasible solution to the problem is showing adolescents the true dangers of opioid abuse. Many students don’t realize the true danger behind opioid abuse and use. Showing students the reality behind opioid use will make students think twice before taking them. Just saying “opioids are bad” isn’t enough for our adolescents. Also, by informing the 77% of people who feel it isn't occurring in their communities that it is and they don't realize it will also help solve the problem.
People need to realize opioid addiction is a serious problem that affects every race, economic class, and region of the United States. According to the Washington Post, “At a conference in New Orleans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield opened up about his family's experience with opioids, saying that one of his adult children nearly died of an overdose of cocaine mixed with fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin”. Some may say drug abuse is only a problem for poor and underachieving people. However, that is not the case. High powered government officials and honors’ students are all plagued with the horrors of opioid addiction. Part of the problem is people are too embarrassed to speak out. As a result, they speak out when it is too late, which needs to change. For instance, my coach’s brother recently died as a result of his addiction. This came as a huge shock to me and my teammates who didn’t know this about our coaches brother. We as a society have to not shame those who are on drugs. Instead, we need to get them the help they need. If we as a society shame them they won’t get the vital help they need.
Opioid addiction also leads to other crimes. According to Katherine Theisen, “The USA is uniquely addicted to opioids. Drug overdose addiction and deaths have grown exponentially since the 1980s, leaving a wake of homelessness, crime-infested communities, dilapidated houses, and beleaguered police and emergency services”. Most opioid addicts steal, resort to prostitution and other illegal ways to get money in order to afford their drugs. People who are addicted can’t help committing crimes in which they could get money fast. It costs a lot of money to be able to afford the drugs so an addict won’t get sick from withdrawal. Often, people aren’t willing to hire an addict so the only way to get money is by committing crimes in which they could get money illegally to fuel their addiction.
Another, result of opioid addiction is health risks such as maggots and death. According to the FBI Chasing the Dragon: The life of an Opiate Addict “Opioid dealers often use meat tenderizers as a cutting agent for the heroin. As a result, skin and muscle breakdown and maggots start to grow.” While some people say it is a myth that opioid addicts get maggots. It has been proven that many opioid addicts got maggots in places where they inserted the needle to deliver the drug. Even, if you are lucky enough not to get maggots, you still are at a much greater chance of dying. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention “Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 47,000 people in 2017, and 36% of those deaths involved prescription opioids”.
People must know the true facts behind opioid addiction. Law enforcement agencies, current addicts, recovering addicts and loved ones of those who died due to opioid use should all come in and speak to students about the dangers behind opioids. Not only that “it is bad for you, so you shouldn’t do it”. But, that with opioids comes debt, crime, jail, maggots in your skin and death. Judges should offer non-threatening opioid users the opportunity to come in and speak to students instead of going to jail. Sending addicts who are non-threatening to jail needs to change. Many drug users end up going to jail and remain in the system because they never received the help they truly needed. Loved ones would want to come and speak on behalf of the deceased. Also, Law Enforcement agencies should come in and speak about the dangers of opioid abuse because it will make their jobs easier having less opioid addicts. In order for my policy to be successful people must be willing to listen and learn about the dangers of opioid addiction. This must be implemented in schools across the country. Also, students will have to take it seriously. Hopefully, students will be informed enough to be scared to even try opioids. When opioid addiction goes away the death rate will decrease drastically, especially, of those under 60. There will be fewer crimes and as a result, fewer people will be in jail.
raised in scholarship for
North Rockland High School
Class of 2019