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Addiction Epidemic: From the 80s to Today

Addiction Epidemic - The Bergand Group

How did the U.S. come to be so tied up in this addiction epidemic? Opioid abuse in the country is through the roof, is beyond simple ‘concern’ and is desperately in need of a change. So, “how did the United States become the only country currently facing a prescription epidemic of this magnitude,” and what can we do to stop it?

How America’s Addiction Epidemic Got Its Start

Before the late 80s, this problem didn’t exist. Those sorts of prescriptions were offered primarily to those with “acute pain, cancer pain,” or those who were “terminally ill.” In short, they weren’t given out with the same enthusiasm that they are today. Unfortunately, around this time, some physicians wondered if they would be able to treat less-dire patients with these same drugs and purported that, yes, they could. There was a lack of negative side effects, and that is why this treatment option began to gain popularity.

In the 90s and early 00s, revised standards for care began to be voted on, published, and shared. “These new standards led to an increased awareness of the right to pain relief, which provided further justification for physicians to use opioids to treat non-cancer pain.” Of course, one of the biggest parties responsible for the state of the addiction epidemic today is ‘big pharma,’ who “aggressively” advertised these pills as a safe way to relieve pain. In addition, many doctors were afraid of the potential legal repercussions that could arise if they did not treat patients as thoroughly as possible, exploring all available options. Not utilizing opioids as pain relievers could count heavily against them. Even “today, we have many physicians contributing to the epidemic with a lack of understanding about the long term effects of opioid prescribing and also over prescribing.”

This is an obviously-complicated issue and there is a lot of blame that is thrown around. Some doctors blame their patients, who call for any kind of relief from pain, even if there are ‘potential’ consequences in the future. Some of those patients, in truth, may be unable or unwilling to try alternatives, either because they are already suffering from an addiction that calls for more pills, or because they simply don’t want to make the effort to try another way. Of course, those doctors often give in to patients, providing the substance in question, and even if they don’t, many people find other ways to get their hands on opioids.

The amount of prescriptions written and of overdose-related deaths have risen steadily over time. The addiction epidemic as it pertains to these pills is particularly alarming in that the majority of these instances were legal, that the pills were given to patients by their doctors without anything underhanded. As a part of what we need to remedy this, we need to find better ways to treat those with chronic pain by understanding even more soundly their situation. There absolutely must be solutions for them that do not need to an addiction.

If you or someone you care about needs help recovering from drug use or abuse, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with drug addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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