America’s Opioid Crisis: ‘Heroin grabs ahold of you, and it won’t let go…’

Karen Gutierrez Garcia and Tito Rodriguez

In a span of 20 years, the number of opioid overdoses in the U.S. has skyrocketed. The opioid epidemic has destroyed cities across the U.S. due to the addictive nature of these prescription drugs. The opioid epidemic is responsible for thousands of deaths since the 1990s.
In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured patients that the prescription painkillers they were prescribed were not addictive. Misuse of these prescription drugs has resulted in addictions and overdoses.
Most recently, in 2017, there were 1,985 overdose deaths involving opioids in Maryland. That’s 32 deaths for every 100,000 people. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has ranked Maryland top 5 for opioid-related deaths. Most alarmingly, 130 people die every day due to opioid-related issues in America. 
Due to the damaging effects of prescription painkillers, doctors began prescribing fewer amounts of them to patience. Those individuals addicted to the painkillers soon looked for other drugs to reach their high, eventually turning to illegal drugs such as heroin and meth.
Drug use ranged from person to person, with Hispanics being the most likely to start drug use at 14%, while whites start at 10%, and black at 9%. 18 to 29-year-old individuals are more at risk to start drug abuse. A tremendous 62.2% of U.S. citizens use opioids without a prescription. It really makes you realize the scope of the situation that the United States has a drug problem.
Opioids have destroyed family relationships, with parents deciding to spend their income on drugs instead of needs for their kids. The drug epidemic has become such an important issue that Portsmouth High School even began offering students three meals a day and a place to do laundry because their parents are busy abusing drugs.
Chad Colwell, a 32-year-old man from Ohio, overdosed in his truck and was revived by paramedics. It was his fourth overdose. “Heroin grabs ahold of you, and it won’t let go. It turned me into somebody I never thought I would be.” 
The Trump administration has the initiative to end the abuse of opioids. The first step of his plan is to end the demand and over-prescription of opioids. As well as educating Americans on the dangers of opioid addiction and its effects. The second step is to crack down on the international and domestic drug distributors that supply illegal drugs to U.S. cities. The third step involves treating and caring for those who are addicted and helping them cope with their addiction.
If you or someone you know are struggling with opioid addiction, contact your local rehabilitation center to plan for intervention and/or treatment. An anonymous representative provided us with information on the treatment of addicted individuals. The Maryland Center for Addiction Treatment helps with substance abuse, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. Patients are given exercise, therapeutic activities, and counseling.
Individuals who decide to live sober are mostly successful. After treatment, they are given an afterward plan to avoid relapsing. Although many don’t, there is always support after relapse. Treatment is always viable and staff is adamant about aiding with your addiction.