Recently, state police & canine units flooded a local middle school for an unannounced sweep searching for illegal drugs. Having attended that very school, I clicked to read some of the comments, & I was shocked to see the number of negative replies;
“Such a waste of tax-payers money.”
"They would have better luck at the High School."
"What 12-year-old- keeps codeine stuffed in their locker? Such a joke."
There were even comments with eye-rolling emoji’s.
Unless you live under a rock in the middle of Alaska, with no internet connection, no local newspapers & only Caribou as companions, you have heard or seen the recent rise in deaths due to the opioid epidemic. If not, pick up a newspaper, watch the local news, or just reach out to some friends & they'll likely be able to enlighten you, & if you think this epidemic doesn't affect you, you are wrong. If you think 'not my kid,' you could be wrong, very wrong. Sometimes, the people who you least expect to fall victim to such a disease are the ones who need help the most.
Sidebar: I am not going to debate whether or not addiction is a disease because it doesn't matter. Regardless of whether you think it's a disease or not, people are still dying. Brothers, sisters, mothers, father, aunts, uncles, friends, etc. they are people facing a problem, a problem we need to find a way to address because dead is dead, it doesn't matter if you label it an addiction or a choice.
This isn’t a joke. This isn’t a drill. Our children are dying & some would rather live in denial than address the problem head-on. Whether the sweep resulted in anything or not, whether it was used as a scare tactic or not, it is well worth our tax dollars. Just do a search for opioid epidemic & children. It won’t take long for your jaw to hit the floor in disbelief.
Researched released in 2018 from the Journal of Pediatrics shows the number of children brought in for opioid overdose doubled from 2003 to 2015 & the number of deaths from opioids overdose tripled from 1999-2016. Here’s another stat for you; there was a 45.2% increase in the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids from 2016-2017, according to the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
Opioids are the LEADING cause of death in individuals under the age of 50.
Opioids produce morphine-like effects. Medically they are used for pain relief, but heroin is also classified as an opioid due to the feelings of euphoria it provides. Enter synthetic opioids like Fentanyl & you have yourself an economy sized problem. A problem that results in an estimated $78.5 BILLION economic burden per year according to The Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
Just let that sink in. Besides the fact that there are roughly 130 people dying daily in the United States from opioid overdoses, our tax dollars are paying for their healthcare, rehab, lost productivity, & any criminal proceedings resulting from their opioid use. So yeah, if we can prevent or intervene at the middle school level, I say go for it.
For all those playing the "who's to blame" game all I can say is yes, this crisis may have started with an overabundance of doctors prescribing painkillers when they probably, really weren't necessary & insurance companies much rather pay for a tiny little pill than long-term therapies, but the fact is that we have to find a solution. It's time clean up the mess not point fingers because pointing fingers isn't going to save anyone who's already lost in the trenches of opioid addiction.
Turning a blind eye doesn’t make the bullet stop after the triggers been pulled. Just saying.