Forgo hostility over opioids
The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis dissimilar to any other that we have witnessed in most of our lifetimes. Such is this opioid crisis that it has seeped into families in every neighborhood. A driving force of the opioid crisis is limited awareness, scarcity of resources, and a general disapproval toward those suffering with addiction.
To combat this epidemic, we must refrain from exhibiting hostility towards those who are addicted, but rather, embrace addiction as an illness that needs to be addressed. Similar to how we proactively treat a smoker who has developed lung cancer with upmost care and attention, instead of criticizing their past mistakes, we need act comparably towards those who are struggling with addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention over 64,000 Americans passed away as a result of drug overdose last year. It might not be possible to suddenly decrease the number of opioid abusers, but we can prevent deaths caused by overdose.
The opioid epidemic is unique, because it is an economic, social, spiritual, pharmaceutical, and medical crisis. Tampa’s Opioid Research Network, a direct result of an AmeriCorps VISTA grant, hopes to alleviate the crisis by tackling various causes and uniting community leaders, medical professionals, elected officials, and educators. With the Crescent Community Clinic, we have developed initiatives to offer assistance to those in need, while creating a comfortable environment, support structure, and resource database.
Progress can only be made if the community comes together to selflessly work towards resolving the opioid crisis.
The writer is a founder of the Tampa Opioid Research Network.