The Opioid Epidemic is a Silent Killer
by Annie Yang
The opioid epidemic is a silent killer. Silent in the sense that in society, you hear about individual instances in which an actor or artist overdoses but collectively we fail to come together to talk about the entirety of the problem. We mourn the death of the individual and pass prayers and condolences. Sometimes we even shame the individual’s choices and decisions that ended them in the situation that they are in. But what we rarely do is talk about it. In a culture where we constantly point fingers and shift blame, we don’t see the damage it is causing when as a collective group, we fail to acknowledge the problem and work towards a common goal.
Opioids Create An Escape for Addicts
While I have never been personally affected by the opioid crisis, I know of those who have had their lives turned inside out because of it. And the harsh irony of it is that many opioids are prescriptions written out by medical professionals. Therefore people don’t see the real danger in taking them. They associate it with health, so how bad could it really be? People take opioids as a form of pain relief. This medication is often prescribed after a serious injury. No one really demonizes the use of these kinds of opioids but the reality is that more people get addicted to opioids through the use of prescribed medications than illegal drugs like heroin. When as a whole we selectively choose to focus on one part of the problem we fail to address the problem at all.
I want to study neuroscience and behavior and included in that is how different drugs affect the function of the brain and therefore the output of one’s behavior. That would be a great opportunity to not only learn more about the crisis but how preventative measures can be taken. Or what needs to be done in order to stop the rapid rise in addiction. In order to face a problem, we have to educate ourselves about it first. Otherwise, it’s a lost cause. Why is it that even with proper instructions on how to take these prescriptions, people still get addicted. Their brains still become hooked on the synthesized drug to replace the natural opioids like endorphins. The drug that is released to give the body a high after an injury.
With prescribed opioids to supplement the naturally produced endorphins and enkephalins, the body stops producing them. Therefore without the opioids to replace this, the body goes through withdrawal. So the posing question remains: how can opioids be prescribed to be able to limit the rates of addiction. Will it be body mass, height, gender, or muscle mass? Is it something to be yet discovered? These are the types of questions I can answer in the near future with the help of the education I aim to receive.
Opioid Abuse is Destroying Families
There are so many things, we as humans do not know about our bodies and their physiologies. Even sober, the human mind and behavior are mysterious and unpredictable. Under the influence of drugs and opioids, this makes it even harder to track. With so many other problems going on in the world, it is becoming harder and harder for people to come together and tackle one single problem. This has become an issue. The human brain is extremely easily susceptible to manipulation caused by chemicals.
And as our nervous system already makes natural chemicals that help transmit messages, induce emotions and help us survive. Taking opioids to supplement some of those neurotransmitters might not result in an immediate change in behavior. And I believe that’s what also makes the opioid crisis such a silent crisis. It makes it so scary to think about that this could happen to anyone. My parents take painkillers at times because they have a number of medical problems relating to their joints or muscles.
And the slightest mistake results in addiction. The process of becoming addicted is silent. The
medication is prescribed by a doctor, so it does not raise any alarms. And taking the medication
as instructed by a medical professional so why wouldn’t you? And without notice, they would become addicted and it would become their new reality. This is a huge problem and with an education, I believe I can truly make a difference. After the four years of undergraduate, I plan on taking the Mcats and applying for medical school to become a medical professional. With ample knowledge of this crisis, I believe the new generation of doctors can make a huge difference.
About Long Island Interventions
We’ve helped countless individuals and families that are affected by drug addiction and alcoholism across the New York area. Many people who develop a substance use disorder find it very difficult to stop using without professional help. If you or someone you know is looking for a detox, drug rehab, intervention, or outpatient drug rehab, our addiction resource center can help.
Long Island Interventions provides an opportunity for those struggling with substance abuse to recover safely. We believe in Long Island drug treatment programs that are solution-focused and evidence-based and our recovery advocates have decades of combined experience.