Learn How ‘Moral Failing’ Perpetuates the Opioid Crisis
The opioid epidemic has impacted this nation drastically in the past few years, and little has changed. Legislators, law enforcement, doctors, and families are still attempting to grasp the root of the issue in order to produce solutions that will halt overdose deaths. There are multiple layers to this issue which is why it has been so difficult to produce results. However, one thing is clear; we cannot make lasting change if we continue to perceive this issue as a moral failing.
What is Considered Moral Failing?
In western culture a lot of shame is associated with illicit substance use. As a nation, we embraced alcohol after prohibition, and are beginning to witness the decriminalization of marijuana on a state by state basis. However, addiction to these and other illicit substances still carry with them a stigma of personal failure.
With the understanding that recreational drug use can develop into addiction, the United States Government has attempted to eradicate recreational drug use for over a century. The Harrison Narcotics Acts of 1914 was the nation’s first federal drug policy that attempted to curb addictions to opiates and cocaine. This legislation targeted physicians who offered step down maintenance programs for drugs like morphine (which was commonly prescribed for aches and pains). 1
Recreational drug use has and continues to be perceived as a moral, or criminal, offense within our communities. We have established laws that are designed to deter people from using and selling drugs with the threat of a prison sentence. However, a prison sentence is not an adequate solution to address the underlying causes of addiction.
We have tried the same beaten path for so long, and have made little progress. Faced with the current opioid crisis, what is holding us back from making lasting changes that will benefit individuals, families, communities, and those struggling with an addictive disorder?
Understanding the Solution
Vox.com published an article that not only summed up people’s feelings towards the opioid epidemic, but also highlighted why we have not made progress in combatting it. To sum it up: Stigma. Our society has been indoctrinated with it and is why we need a new perspective now more then ever.
Here is how German Lopez, author of the article, summed up his research:
“Yet it came up again and again in my reporting. Why don’t we widely embrace opioid addiction medications [medicated assisted treatment or MAT], despite decades-old research supporting them? Stigma. Why do we resort to the criminal justice system to deal with addiction, even as that’s proven ineffective? Stigma. Why do we close down needle exchange programs that are proven to save lives? Stigma. What is the one thing Vermont had to overcome to build up its addiction treatment system? Stigma. Why won’t Congress approve the money experts agree is needed to address the crisis? You get the idea.”
Granted, policies and regulations will not change overnight, nor will the public’s perception of the issue. However, with an epidemic that knows no race, gender, age, or income status, people are seeing first hand what addiction can do to a community. With people becoming more educated on addiction, as well as understanding the scientifically backed solutions, we can at the very least hope we are heading in the right direction.
Why it can be difficult managing chronic pain and addiction
Managing any addictive disorder can be a complex process. Add chronic pain into the mix, and it’s a whole new game. This is due to the fact that for years our standard of care for managing aches and pains was not so different from that in 1914. To put it simply, we as a western society have relied on opiates to manage all sorts of pain. We were never exposed, directed, or prescribed alternative methods of pain management. Instead of reserving opiates for post-surgical acute pain and end of life care, patients used their medications for years to manage varying chronic pain conditions. They were unknowingly making their pain conditions worse, and developing additional biological and psychological conditions.
Using opioids as a long-term symptom management tool can result in patients becoming dependent on their medications, requiring more medication to achieve relief, becoming more sensitive to pain, as well as developing psychological conditions associated with their pain.
To learn more about opioid dependence/addiction, click here.
To learn more about developing hypersensitivity to pain from opioid use, click here.
To learn more about psychological conditions associated with opioid use, click here.
Offering Hope and Healing to those with Chronic Pain and Addiction
Here at A Healing Place – The Estates, we all agree that coexisting conditions that accompany chronic pain must be addressed for sustainable recovery. Treating the whole person on a biological, psychological, social and spiritual levels is essential. Our founders reached out to other leading medical providers in the field and, as a result, built an outstanding team of professionals who allow us to offer modalities ranging from recovery-friendly medication management, equine therapy, to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
We are eager to introduce our transformative solutions for chronic pain to you and your family. If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our treatment program, feel free to contact our compassionate staff at 844-388-4100, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.