An Ignored Crisis

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An Ignored Crisis

Elizabeth Cherinka, Editor in Chief

There is without a doubt an opioid crisis. Opioids found naturally in the opium plant and are used to treat pain, causing side effects like that of a high.

Living in Luzerne County is it right in front of our faces and no one is doing much to stop it.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 130 people die per day due to opioids. Not only that, but it is expensive. Opioid deaths cost about 78.5 billion every year in health care costs, addictive treatment, and criminal justice.

People are becoming addicted to pain medications prescribed to them for something simple things and they can never get off of it. Other pain medications exist and in most situations, opioids are not needed.

About 25% of people who are prescribed opioids misuse them. 25% does not seem like a lot but it is actually about 11.4 million people. These people have families, friends, jobs, schools, etc. and everything they do is affected by opioids.

People get prescribed Percocet for wisdom teeth removal. It is not an incredibly painful surgery and Tylenol does the trick. Percocet is a highly addictive pain medication and it is not worth the risk.

Heroin is one of the most dangerous opioids and it is never used for medication. In 2017, 15,000 people died in the United States due to heroin overdose. About 80% of people who use heroin started by using prescribed opioids.

Fentanyl is a prescribed opioid used mostly during cancer treatments. Illegally made fentanyl is causing the most recent fentanyl overdoses. About 28,000 people died in 2017 due to synthetic opioids.

These opioids, in all of their forms, prescribed or not prescribed, are dangerous and addictive. It is causing a nationwide crisis of drug overdoses, death, and addictions.