“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” declared President Donald Trump in August of 2017.
How prevalent is the drug epidemic in the United States? From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. Disturbingly, 91 people in America die from an opioid overdose each day. Along with this, many opioids have become available on the black market, alongside heroin, and are also a cause of the dramatic increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths. Many drug users are simply not aware how powerful the drug may be that they are taking. Fentanyl, which is at least 50 times stronger than morphine, and Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer thousands of times stronger than morphine, are both opioids that are being abused by parents and adults.
To be sure, the repeated abuse of drugs can have drastic effects on the brain. Scientists have concluded that continual drug use can alter the structure of the brain, as well as how the brain generally functions. Indeed, as drug abuse continues, the user will find it increasingly more challenging in regards to decision making, as well as self-control. Furthermore, longtime drug abuse may also affect the nervous system and even the reproductive system. Along with this, blood pressure and heart rate may also increase, causing further risk of heart disease, and strokes. The medical field has also found that a number of mental health-related issues can result from long-term drug abuse, including chronic depression, paranoia, psychosis, and schizophrenia.
Yet, it is not only adults who suffer from drug abuse, it is also the rise of babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Indeed, up to 94 percent of babies born to mothers who used opioids while pregnant will suffer symptoms of drug withdrawal. One study found that babies born the past decade suffering from NAS increased five-fold across the nation. Furthermore, yet another study found that a baby is born suffering from opiate withdrawals every 25 minutes.
America is indeed in the grips of a new drug war and a drug crisis; a crisis and war that the nation seems to be losing. Not only are the today’s abusers the victims of this drug war, but so are their families and even the generation that follows them. At what point will we stand up and fight this battle? At what point will we try and save our families and our children?
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