Last Word: Put a stop to Opioids

Noah Roux, Staff Writer

     The University Democrats made a point of bringing up the opioid epidemic. We as the College Republicans feel this is a place where bi-partisan action can be taken to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic.

    The Federal Government, the State Government and local communities like ours here at BU can work to achieve the end of the opioid epidemic. The facts on the issue are not necessarily well known and being informed on the subject is one of the first steps we can take to begin solving it together.

     According to the Center for Disease Control, 66 percent of drug related deaths involve the use of opioids in the United States, including heroin and prescription opioids. From the year 2000 to 2016 roughly 600,000 people died from drug overdoses. This problem has only gotten worse, and the companies that make opioids seem complacent.

    Overdoses are becoming increasingly common; 467 thousand people struggled with heroin addiction and over 2 million were estimated to abuse opioid painkillers. There is an extensive list of negative side effects from the abuse of opioids and illegal opioids such as heroin.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse it can cause veins to collapse, infected heart linings, slowed breathing, constipation, hepatitis, a greater sensitivity to pain, a weakened immune system and slowed brain function. These drugs often provide a sense of euphoria, but the abuse of these drugs when injected or smoked increases this sense of euphoria and is even more addictive than the normal and correct use of the drug.
Just like other drugs the effects that are positively associated with the drug make them very addictive and lead to heavier use. The high that you feel is not worth the physical toll.

     The effects of these drugs on communities is also becoming more and more prominent in our daily lives and families are torn apart by the abuse of opioids. The Department of Health and Human Services found that nearly three quarters of states saw an unprecedented number of children entering foster care. Substance abuse by parents was cited as the primary reason for this drastic increase.

     The effects of these parents using opioids can also be seen in babies. The Center for Disease control reports that there has been a record increase in NAS or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which is a drug withdrawal syndrome that occurs in babies exposed to opioids in the womb.

     It also has caused a decline in the men’s labor force and fueled violence across the border in Mexico. These are clear splits in the fabric of our society and we should try our best as Americans to help those who are suffering from these kinds of addiction and stand firm to avoid them.

    In the past few years more and more of these pain killers have been produced outpacing the needs of the American people by almost double. They sell these products like candy. They are, after all, a business and seek to make money, but it has gone too far.

     They can hook millions of Americans on the drugs which then turn a profit for the companies. Multiple cities across the country have begun suing these companies for the damages produced. The companies have, according to the cases, purposely misled consumers into believing that prescription opioids were safe to treat chronic non-cancer pain with minimal risk of addiction.
I am all for capitalism and the free market system, but this is one situation which the gains made by companies has proven to be detrimental to American families, individuals and communities. We need to push for common sense opioid regulations for the companies, doctor’s offices and crack down on those selling the drugs illegally on the streets. The President and congress should work in a bi-partisan manner to get this job done for all Americans.

Noah is a sophomore Political Science major with a History minor. He is the College Republicans Vice President.