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How would you solve the opioid drug abuse crisis?

Stricter enforcement
Legalize 'softer' recreational drugs
Crack down on prescription writing
Something else — please elaborate

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1. Patricia Pomerleau CEOExpressSelect Member
     Forum Moderator
     (12/16/2016 12:26:35 AM)
     Message ID #276748

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"Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again."

The story in the Wall Street Journal went on to add more to the sobering introduction:

The police officer who entered Mikaya Feucht’s Ohio apartment found it littered with trash, dirty dishes and plastic milk jugs full of the opioid addict’s vomit.

He also found two toddlers, aged 3 and 2, who watched as the officer uncovered the track marks on their mother’s arms and looked in vain for any food to feed them.

That was three years ago. By the time Mikaya overdosed and died from the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil this summer, her sons were living with their grandparents. But the chaos of watching their mother descend into addiction will burden them for years. They were often hungry and dirty in her care, and spoke of being hit with a belt by her boyfriend, according to their grandparents.

As with most of America's recent wars, the Wars on Poverty and Drugs have seen many battles and few victories.
Widespread abuse of powerful opioids has pushed U.S. overdose death rates to all-time highs. It has also traumatized tens of thousands of children. The number of youngsters in foster care in many states has soared, overwhelming social workers and courts. Hospitals that once saw few opioid-addicted newborns are now treating dozens a year.

And many of the children who remain in the care of addicted parents are growing up in mayhem. They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs.

Social workers say the scale of the trouble exceeds anything they saw during the crack-cocaine or methamphetamine crises of previous decades. Heroin and other opioids are so addictive they can overwhelm even the strongest parental instinct to care for a child, doctors and social workers say.

How would you break the cycle of addiction?
  • Can we combat legitimate pain relieving prescriptions gone bad?

  • More states are legalizing recreational marijuana. Will a milder diversion help?

  • Every modern president has failed to stop the flow of drugs into the U.S. Will tough-talking President-elect Trump be any more successful?

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Message edited by user at 12/16/2016 12:28:26 AM

2. Jeffrey Boire CEOExpressSelect Member
     (1/4/2017 12:15:20 AM)
     Message ID #277984

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Message edited by user at 1/7/2017 7:59:54 PM

3. Thomas C CEOExpressSelect Member
     (1/4/2017 5:55:07 AM)
     Message ID #277985

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Crack use was diminished via mandatory minimum sentencing. The country doesn't have the stomach for those days anymore and the legalizing pot is sweeping across the country.

Opiod abuse starts in suburbs and moves into the rural areas. Recently a DEA agent told me the most dangerous place right now for law enforcement is Maine, "anyplace" north of Portland.

Underground meth labs and lax open carry laws are a bad combination. Some isolated small mill towns have created "drug zones", as in "the Wire".

Law enforcement has cracked down on "pill mills" in the South, but can't solve the rural areas where there is lots of territory to cover and very few police.

Route 89 through Vermont, very scenic, has been the drug super highway between Montreal and Boston for years.

4. Scott Collins
     (1/4/2017 7:07:33 AM)
     Message ID #277986

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Not to duck the question, but one could ask the same of any addictive substance - most notably, alcohol.

Whether the roots of addiction are mental or physical or a combination of both, the fact is a small percentage of people more susceptible to addiction than others.

What to do? Trying to cure/save the world would be a fool's errand, while blowing it off and letting Darwinism take its course is rather crass. It could be argued that a basic social safety net is the least we can do - then the back-and-forth can start defining what that minimum should be. One of many dilemmas facing us.

5. D Robb
     (1/4/2017 8:04:20 AM)
     Message ID #277987

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You will need to use the link to be able to read the footnotes to the comments from ASAM below. There seems to be a climate change denier group forming on the forum. Inconvenient facts are denied without having anything but personal experience to support the denial. The drug problem is real. Even famous radio blow hard Rush Limbaugh was an OxyContin abuser and addict, but escaped prosecution.

I have long been a believer in decriminalizing drugs to take the money out of the drug trade which supports international criminal and terrorist elements. I agree with the comment about alcohol. The War on Drugs and mandatory sentencing has been a total failure and reviving mandatory sentences will accomplish nothing except to refill our jails.

National Opioid Overdose Epidemic

• Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.5
• From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.6
• In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills.7
• Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.8
• 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”9

6. Robert Fahrbach CEOExpressSelect Member
     (1/4/2017 8:14:54 AM)
     Message ID #277988

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People have an inalienable right to ingest whatever they choose. Government has no authority whatever to stop them.

Once you get that sorted out the solution is simple.

You legislate distribution of addictive drugs by declaring them non-profit items. Profit is the sole reason there are so many opiates. That would drive illegal sales through the roof. The DEA should follow by not confiscating illegal drugs. They should instead poison them and release them back into the marketplace.

The original use of ethically manufactured morphine, heroin and cocaine was for the US Army. They drove addiction from almost zero to current levels. They could continue to use them to make wars more fun without turning the nation into a pizzhole. As for the illegal variants... the regretful loss of those users (without interfering with their right to ingest them) would be as great a public service as abortion.

I suspect that those measures would reduce drug use (and crime) dramatically within one single year for a relatively low cost - ultimately saving many lives. There may be other ways that the meek find more palatable... but we will always have a crisis as long as we have a profit.

We have a crisis because we want a crisis.

7. D Robb
     (1/4/2017 8:19:30 AM)
     Message ID #277989

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The WP link is an interesting slant on the story.

8. Domenick Aulozzi CEOExpressSelect Member
     (1/4/2017 9:21:24 AM)
     Message ID #277990

This message is in response to Patricia Pomerleau ( message id #276748 )  View All Related Messages

It seems many people want to lump all people with drug addictions into the same pot and they all got there for the same reason. That is simply not true.

There are isolated instances of individuals, like Rush Limbaugh and Bret Favre for instance, that had legitimate reasons for taking prescription opioids for pain and developed an addiction to those drugs. They were however, rational individuals that recognized they had become addicted and took steps to rectify the situation. The underlying cause was their pain treatment.

The article you cite is talking about an entirely different form of addiction. This type of addiction comes about, not because the drugs are cheap, or profitable, or any other notion like that. This type of addiction is from an underlying loss of purpose for their life. If it was not an opioid, it would be some other form of escape, including suicide. The problem is a spiritual and emotional one.

The idea that as a society we can continue to tell people they are a freak of nature that came about for no purpose at all except dumb luck. Or that they don't even have enough value to be considered a human being unless their mother decides she wants them to be; is an idea that will keep our society looking for purpose or some way to avoid the inevitability that they really do not matter.

Drug addiction is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.

Message edited by user at 1/4/2017 9:22:11 AM

9. Jeffrey Boire CEOExpressSelect Member
     (1/4/2017 9:29:14 AM)
     Message ID #277991

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Message edited by user at 1/7/2017 7:59:25 PM

10. D Robb
     (1/4/2017 10:09:50 AM)
     Message ID #277992

This message is in response to Jeffrey Boire ( message id #277991 )  View All Related Messages

Newspapers in my area of the country require you to submit an obituary. They don't just write up a death.
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