Opiates and their effects on people around the world

Daniel McKinley-Lev, Writer

The opioid epidemic isn’t new in any shape or form and it’s been around since before most of my generation was born. You can see it in every town, every school, and in the eyes of everyone who’s been broken by it. You could get addicted by taking pills on the street to get high, or by being hospitalized for any number of conditions, then prescribed these medications to feel like yourself again. No matter how old you are, where you live, or who you hang out with, the risk of getting addicted to these drugs is continuing to increase over time. 

According to NCBI.gov, “In 2017, there were 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States alone.” This epidemic has continued to increase over the last two decades and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With recreational and medical drugs becoming laced with opiates and other pharmaceuticals to decrease production costs, the risks become higher and higher. For people who are already addicted and are in search of a greater feeling or a “better high,” the addition of different pharmaceuticals into this supply increases the risk of injury and death. 

Although there are people who abuse opiates for the rush or the high, there are some people as stated earlier, that rely on these medications to be able to do basic tasks. Looking back to NCBI.gov, it states, “Opioid prescriptions in the United States significantly increased during the decade before 2012 and have remained at significantly high rates, with about 70 prescriptions dispensed per 100 people in 2015.” This also includes children, where it continues that, “Between 2000 and 2015, there were 188,468 poison control center reports of child or adolescent prescription opioid exposure.” This is more proof that even those who take these drugs with the best of intentions are at risk of severe injury or death. 

Although it may seem hopeless, there are ways for society to prevent these severe injuries and deaths by responding to possible overdoses as soon as possible. The website, endoverdose.com provides a way to get Narcan, a nasal inhaler that is given to those suspected of overdosing. This inhaler’s considered a literal miracle, placed into the hands of the public with costs as low as a few dollars. By possibly implementing this in schools, prisons, and police stations around the country, we can finally start to do our part in helping people around the world who suffer from drug dependency.