Newt gingrich: the death of opioids is a health crisis – treatment, not prison, is a cure.
Today and about 91 americans are expected to die from opioid overdoses. More than 300, 000 people have died since 2000, and more than a car accident is the main cause of unintentional death. The national economy is estimated to be worth $78.5 billion a year.
Most people know that a person is addicted. They may be in an accident or need surgery. To ease their pain, their doctors prescribed opioids. Those prescriptions are appropriate and perfectly legal.
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Opioids can reduce pain and give a strong feeling of happiness. Many people’s brain chemistry makes them crave this “high”, and they rely on these drugs. When their prescriptions run out, they crave not to stop.
Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failure. The President’s anti-drug commission and the opioid crisis stress that addiction is “chronic encephalopathy”.
Addiction changes the way people’s brains function, causing their brains to need opiates to function properly. The lack of opioids causes brain abnormalities that trigger withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and tremors.
The pain of withdrawal is intolerable. Some people describe it as, “every bone in your body aches. You get a cold sweat. This is 90 degrees, but you’ll get goose bumps. There is no room for maneuver.”
To avoid these withdrawal symptoms, many doctors who live with drug stores give them another prescription. If they fail, they usually buy opioids on the street. This is very dangerous because these street drugs often contain fentanyl, which is cheaper and more lethal than other drugs.
The tragic fate of this epidemic far exceeds that of the dead. Grandparents and adoptive parents bear the burden of the children of those who nurture or use opiates.
In addition, the number of children who took opioids during pregnancy was disturbing. These innocent babies are born with the fear of withdrawal. As a result, many of them experienced physical and mental difficulties throughout their lives.
Other pandemics are seen as public health crises, and government and private sector support studies to find appropriate treatment and prevention protocols. Unfortunately, we have not yet made a commitment to prevent and treat addiction.
While there is solid evidence that addiction is a disease, there are still some who believe that opioid addiction is a moral failure and should be punished by time of imprisonment. Of course, we need to try to deal with those who bring this poison to our borders and our neighbors. The drug dealers belong to the prison.
However, harsh sentences for opioid addicts are both cruel and dangerous. We won’t lock someone up because of pneumonia. So, why do we want to detain an addict?
In the absence of proper medical supervision, the addict will be withdrawn without proper medical supervision. It’s very painful and doesn’t do anything to treat their underlying disease.
Incarceration does not reverse the neurobiological abnormality of the addicted brain. In fact, getting people to fight opioid addiction in prison rather than in treatment may lead to more deaths related to opioid drugs.
In prison, the drug is less tolerable, but the drug is still there. Once released, if he or she surrenders to his or her brain’s desire, the “usual” dose may lead to an overdose, which may lead to death due to a lower tolerance. Continuing to follow the “no cure” approach will only continue to ravage the opioid epidemic.
Instead, here are some important steps to help end the opioid epidemic:
Prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations that transport large amounts of illegal synthetic drugs to our country and community. Currently, only 14 percent of federal prisoners are major drug traffickers. That means we spend millions of dollars to lock down 86 percent of the small fish.
Full implementation of federal law requires insurance companies to provide the same mental health and substance use diagnosis benefits as other medical conditions. When they refuse to pay for these services, patients end up sitting in expensive prison beds, and their addiction is not treated.
Reverse health care policies, in turn, encourage prescription opioids, while limiting payments for non-addictive pain treatment, as well as addiction treatment and drug adjuvant therapy.
Changing outdated laws and regulations makes it difficult for addicts to get drug adjuvant therapy. This includes removing the upper limit of the number of patients who can be treated by a health care provider. It also includes changes to regulations that make it difficult for patients to obtain new long-acting drugs that are not easily transferable and can help persist.
Establish a drug court that supports evidence-based treatment interventions in each federal judicial district. As the committee reports, the drug court “works in our state, working under the federal system, helping those in need, and reducing the number of federal prisons. The drug courts are known to be more effective than incarceration… ”
These steps will help millions of americans struggling with drug addicts. It’s really a matter of life and death.
Newt gingrich is an adviser to the recovery of opioids.