While Sam’s opioid addiction ended in a tragedy which his family and friends feel deeply on a personal level, we recognize that the tragedy of addiction is far broader. It affects millions of people across the nation and the world. It is a tragedy that affects babies born to addicted mothers, orphans of overdosed parents, students, teachers, employers and people from every walk of life and social class.
Although frequently referred to in the media as a “crisis” or an “epidemic”, I believe that opioid addiction is more than that, it is a national disaster. Consider the following facts:
- More people die annually from drug overdoses (64,000 in 2016) in the U.S. than from automobile crashes.
- There were 215 million prescriptions written for opiates in 2016, amounting to 14 BILLION dosage units according to the DEA (which establishes production levels for these drugs). That works out to 43 doses for every man, woman and child in the country, and represents a government-sanctioned recipe for disaster.
- The aggressive marketing of Oxycodone and related prescription opiates has taken the percentage of heroin users that started with legal opiates from 21% in 2004 to 45% in 2015. The number continues to climb. Sam’s opioid addiction began with a prescription that followed a shoulder surgery, so we saw this effect first-hand.
Please join our family in our effort to create awareness of this problem. Help us fight the stigma of addiction, as we open our family’s story to the world. And, do your part to encourage regulators and lawmakers to restrict the flow of opioids while providing treatment resources to people who are facing the fight of their lives.