From The Guardian: In a society where unemployment is prevalent and people feel isolated from friends, family, and community, opioid use has become a coping mechanism to reduce despair. Rather than medicalizing and criminalizing opioid abuse, we should offer solutions based on social inclusion and compassion.
“Society’s response has been understandably desperate but generally wrongheaded. We start by blaming addicts. Then we blame the pharmaceutical companies for developing and marketing painkillers. We blame doctors, for overprescribing opiates, which pressures them to underprescribe, which drives patients to street drugs – cheaper, home delivery via the internet, and zero quality control. We say we’re going to reignite the war on drugs, recognised by experts as a colossal failure from the 1930s onward. We also continue to view addiction as a chronic brain disease, so the benefits of education, social support, psychological intervention, and personal empowerment receive far too little attention. Yes, addiction involves brain change, but ongoing medicalisation does little to combat it.”