Statistics on temporary drug overdose deaths in 2020 confirm the most worrying problem in the addiction field. The number of people who died of drug overdose in the United States last year exceeded any other year in our history. More than 93,000 people diedThe increase compared to the previous year has also exceeded what we have seen-an increase of 30%.
These data tell us that something is wrong. In fact, they are calling for change.
This is no longer a matter of “taking more measures” to solve our country’s drug problem. What we are doing as a society—putting drug addicts in jail and underinvesting in prevention and compassionate health care—will not work. Even though we are working hard to create better scientific solutions to this crisis, it is frustrating to see that the effective prevention and treatment tools we already have have not been used-it is tragic.
The benefits of providing effective substance use disorder treatments—especially drugs for opioid use disorder—are well known.However, decades of prejudice against the use of drugs to treat substance use disorders have greatly limited their reach, partly because 18% Of patients with opioid use disorder receive medication. For a long time, people have been reluctant to provide these treatments, and insurance companies are reluctant to provide them. This reflects the long-standing stigma that has placed addicts in a secondary position.
We must eliminate the attitude and infrastructure that prohibits the treatment of patients with substance use disorders. This means making it easier for clinicians to provide life-saving drugs, expanding medical models such as digital medical technology and mobile clinics that can cover where people are and ensure that payers pay for effective treatment.
The science of this matter is clear: addiction is a chronic and treatable disease, not a weakness of will or character or a social deviation. But stigma and long-standing prejudice—even in the healthcare sector—cause decision makers in healthcare, criminal justice, and other systems to punish drug users instead of treating them. This approach may be simpler than asking us as a society to sympathize or take care of people with devastating, debilitating, and often fatal diseases.but The risk of imprisonment does not prevent drug use, Let alone solve the problem of addiction; it perpetuates the stigma, and Disproportionately harm the most vulnerable communities.
Evidence-based harm reduction, such as the syringe service program, also needs to be part of any solution to our drug crisis, because these have been shown to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C and help connect people with Addiction is linked to the treatment of other diseases. Although the federal government has accepted evidence-based harm reduction programs, many communities continue to resist them, erroneously thinking that they are sanctions or encourage drug use. A number of independent studies have shown that this is not the case. Researchers are also evaluating innovative but historically controversial strategies operating abroad, such as overdose prevention centers, where people can use drugs and access other medical services under medical supervision to assess cost-effectiveness and reduce deaths and improve health Ability.
Part of the reason why the current approach to the drug crisis has failed is that people unrealistically expect that people should — and can — stop taking drugs. Unless and until they stop taking drugs, there is little to worry about addicts, but the reality is that difficulties and resumption of use usually mark a journey to recovery. Compassion, care, and support need to extend to those who are still taking drugs and those who are re-addicting, not just those who can meet strict standards of abstinence. Everyone with substance abuse disorders, whether they are currently taking drugs or not, needs good medical care, and may also need help with housing, employment, and childcare.
In order to prevent young people from abusing drugs and prevent people of all ages from suffering from drug abuse barriers, our country must address the social and economic stressors that increase the risk of drug use, such as poverty and unstable housing, unsafe communities and schools, and the economy Other effects of change include social isolation and despair. Death from drug overdose is an integral part of the “death of despair”, along with suicide and alcohol-related diseases, Lead to a decrease in life expectancy In the U.S., even in Decrease by 1.5 years in 2020 Mainly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the field, evidence-based interventions can make a big difference: universal prevention programs and interventions for high-risk families and youth not only reduce the risk of future drug use and addiction, but also have radiation benefits in other ways. Mental and physical health.
This raises the question of collective willingness to invest in these measures. Relative to the cost of preventive interventions, the long-term savings in health care and justice costs can be huge. But they are long-term investments that take time to generate returns. The essence of our society is to focus on the short-term bottom line and expect immediate results.
The fundamental change to save lives is long overdue. Scientists must help policymakers and other leaders rethink how we can work together to solve the problem of drugs and drug use, find the evidence base to improve health and reduce harm to the community, and fund research to develop new prevention and treatment tools.
This is an opinion and analysis article; opinions expressed Author or author Not necessarily those Scientific american.
This article originally appeared in WHERE TK