America – Addict Nation Pt 1

 

A Recent Discovery It Seems

The discovery that we have an opioid addiction problem in the United States is getting considerable news coverage. From the noise and amazement, it would seem it just started up.
Of course a problem of this magnitude didn’t just happen overnight. And, in fact, over 60,000 people died from it and related issues last year. That’s more than the 58,000 people we lost in all of the Vietnam War and more than the 37,461 deaths from car accidents in 2016.

Dealing with Scope and Reality

I couldn’t resist the headline because it is typical of the way major issues are suddenly hyped. Reality is often even more insidious. This is not to suggest that we should dismiss the issue. It is indeed serious, but it deserves a much broader form of coverage.

There Are More Than a Few Questions at Issue

I have a few questions and comments. First some questions.

As a member of the “helping professions” my lead question specifically is “What the H..L were the medical communities doing?” Is it conceivable they really did not see how many prescriptions they were handing out with little understanding of the needs of their patients and what was underlying the requests for medication? There needs to be a major discussion among those professions.

Next question relates to big pharma. What we know already is that there were massive shipments of addictive drugs and that many of those shipments were concentrated in areas such as Appalachia. Are we expected to believe that the pharmaceutical companies had no awareness? The bottom line is that this involves criminal behavior. They need to be held accountable. And that in turn should open the scandal of drug prices in this country and the patent need to regulate the pharmaceutic industry in a much more effective and comprehensive fashion.

Next question relates to Congress. Are the member of Congress living off planet? The silence on so many issues is outrageous. There is not nearly enough attention to this crisis in Congress. We should be overwhelmed by their outrage and efforts to look into it. Or, is this another indication off the corruption of big money in Congress?

What Should We do?

Right after we address the above questions we have to go to work. One of many things which distresses me is that I’m hearing little or no talk about what we actually need to do for the sufferers from these addictions. And yes, it is addictions—plural.

Some action is being taken and some of it is at the community level. We have a scandal of large magnitude on our hands and it is ours as a nation. In my next post on this issue I’m going to go into the matter of some of my history as it relates to this problem. We truly have our work cut out for us and it is not just a matter of addressing addiction. Along with those issues we must attend to the larger dysfunction of our nation. We all need to be distressed about what has happened to our country and make a commitment to do something about it.

To Be Continued.

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Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

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