Not everyone is pleased that President Trump recently declared the opioid crisis in America to be a public health emergency. In fact, many individuals are urging that the president treat the opioid crisis with more caution and go so far as to declare it a state of emergency instead. While we cannot be certain if this will occur, it is important to understand why people are requesting this change.
A public health emergency is usually a declaration associated with a natural disaster or disease that comes on suddenly, the ramifications of which can be reasonably dealt with in a period of 90 days (or longer if the president chooses to reinstate the emergency declaration). However, the opioid crisis has been building in the U.S. for over 20 years. According to Addictions.com, overdose is now the leading cause of death in Americans under 50 years old, overdose rates rose 20 percent between 2015 and 2016 alone, and the number of heroin deaths in the nation have reached a serious 20-year high. This is not a sudden crisis but one that has been decades in the making.
Still, one of the best options for recovery remains treatment in a rehab center. Though our country does have many rehab options for addicted individuals, the cost of these programs often causes people to refrain from seeking the help they need. Also, some people refuse to seek help because of the stigma associated with admitting that one is an addict. Instead, many people suffer through their addictions, an issue that often leads to overdose.
A state of emergency might actually solve some of these issues, however. If our country were to declare that the opioid crisis has become an issue this serious, we could allocate more funds to treatment centers, making them more affordable. We could also remove some of the stigma associated with addiction treatment by helping the states refrain from punishing addicts by putting them in prison and sending them to treatment centers instead. Also, declaring the opioid crisis a state of emergency would help all Americans understand the gravity of the situation, that the problem isn’t associated with a lack of willpower but rather with a real disease that causes changes to the way the brain works.
Declaring a state of emergency could actually ensure that more people receive access to addiction treatment, which is one of the best-known ways to deal with opioid addiction. However, since we only see the crisis as a public health emergency, this is unlikely to go far enough to really solve the problem. With any luck, more changes will come quickly enough for our country to begin healing from this issue as soon as possible.
In the meantime, there is so much you can do to make sure you and your loved ones get help for addiction. Always seek out treatment in a professional rehab center and don’t be afraid to support your loved ones through their care. After all, this is a serious disorder, and it’s only a matter of time before more and more people begin to understand that truth.