As I scroll through my news feeds and listen to current media sources I feel very frustrated by the amount of dissonant and polarizing stories that are political in nature. As we all probably recognize, the intensity of anger, hostility, threats and general discord is so prevalent that it feels somewhat hopeless that we as a country will ever get our problems resolved.
One significant national issue that is not in question is the level of crisis of opioids and other related drugs. How serious is this crisis? What are we doing about it? Are we making progress? Is it getting worse? With over 70,000 deaths per year in this country and millions of individuals still addicted this is truly a public health crisis.
Just as a way for readers to be informed about the extent of this crisis, here is a link from CNN about the history and current status of the opioid crisis: https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/18/health/opioid-crisis-fast-facts/index.html
Quite honestly what we are witnessing is unprecedented in American history. It does not appear that the statistics of substance use and abuse is improving.
Legislation and appropriated money have been allocated to this horrid public health issue. However, we are in great need to find ways to funnel the resources and professional help to the local communities where many professionals are working hard to help those who are struggling with serious and often life-threatening addictions.
This issue merits a national emergency and a strategy for crisis management. The approaches need to include a trauma-informed path. This access helps addicts not only receive treatment that deals with their addictions physically but also that deals with the causes that have led to the addiction, usually involving some form of life trauma.
We at Lakeside stand ready to help students, families and adults recognize the impact of trauma. As we join with other professionals who have the expertise to help those imbued in the downward spiral of these kinds of lifestyles, it is my aspiration that we bring healing and hope to those experiencing life-devastating addictions.
We may be a country with differing views are on the issues that divide us. However, we should be able to join hands on preventing drug addiction and its destructive consequences. Those involved in these catastrophic cycles and the affected children, families and communities need our utmost attention and support.