Opioid epidemic

Prescription drugs greatly impact our pharmaceutical industries. They are a major source of income that goes to the government. However, in 2018, 81 people died in Washtenaw County due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription (Rx) opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs." I am 16 years old, so this is very close to my age group. This epidemic directly impacts my life, and it will impact most around that age.


Even though people aged 18 to 25 are most likely to abuse prescription drugs, drug use still heavily influences younger people. When younger people see others using, whether it's family, friends, or just a random person on the street, they may want to try it themselves. If that cycle continues, the opioid epidemic may never stop. It will just keep crawling down the line of generations.


These harmful drugs can play a big role in causing families to drift apart and breaking connections between families and friends. People using these drugs often feel withdrawn from participating in activities, communicating with loved ones, and even life in general. This shatters the bond needed for healthy relationships and support between families and friends.


Users of these drugs may believe that the drugs are "helping" them or making them "feel better." However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can have very negative side effects such as increased sensitivity to pain, depression, confusion, nausea, vomiting, sweating, sleepiness, and dizziness. I don't think those are such good feelings.


This ongoing epidemic seems to be growing at a rapid rate and needs to be ended. We all have the power to contribute. We can help get addicts into rehab. We can encourage people to talk about their problems instead of taking these drugs that might make them "feel better." We can get this problem brought to the attention of more people. Future generations are in jeopardy due to the epidemic. The future is in our hands and we have the power to change it. We can decrease the deaths in our community.


I know many people think that people who are addicted to extremely harmful drugs know what they are doing to themselves, that they can do whatever they want with their own bodies. They may also think they are helping and supporting our pharmaceutical industries. While this may be true, drug users are doing what makes them feel better and what helps them escape or cope with pain. To anyone who may be dealing with this addiction and reading this right now, ask yourself, is that "feel better" feeling worth your life? Life has no price tag.

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