It’s no secret that the opioid epidemic has taken the country by storm. Many people are addicted to prescription painkillers, unable to break that addiction on their own. A lot of related issues — pill mills, overprescribing, theft, heroin use — can all be traced back to this epidemic.
The solution, when someone is addicted to anything, is to get them the proper treatment and medical help they need. Unfortunately, the justice system often just seeks to put people behind bars. To really understand what has been happening and how it can be addressed, we need to know how it all started.
A non-addictive option
The lie was that, in the 1980s, many people had the opinion that opioids were either not addictive or barely addictive. Some said that recreational use could lead to addiction but that, somehow, pain treatment would not. One disputed account claimed — with little evidence — that only four out of 11,882 people who used opioids became addicted to them. That account ran in the New England Journal of Medicine.
We know now that these types of studies were wrong. Opioids are actually highly addictive. But the epidemic is already underway.
This addiction epidemic is changing lives. People who would never break the law feel like they have no choice. The addiction takes over. It’s all they can think about. Without treatment, they feel like there is no way out. If you have suffered in this way and are now facing legal issues, you have to know what options you have.