America is in the grips of a very serious crisis – one so severe, that it’s negative impact can no longer be ignored. Millions of Americans are succumbing to the ravages of drug addiction, and it’s literally tearing the fabric of society apart.
Addiction is a global problem, but the sheer magnitude of addiction has never been so drastic as it is today in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that the abuse of alcohol and drugs is exacting more than $440 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care — of that amount, approximately $78.5 billion is a direct result of prescription opioid abuse. If you add in tobacco, they estimate the costs to the economy at $740 billion.
These are staggering numbers. But it’s more than just the economic impact — substance abuse in America is literally killing an untold number of people. And with the catastrophic rise in Heroin and synthetic heroin abuse (pain killers), the problems is rapidly becoming worse.
Heroin-related deaths increased 439% from 1999 to 2014. As of 2014, heroin-related deaths had more than tripled in five years and quintupled in 10 years. – CNN
In another sign of how serious the problem has become, the National Institutes of Health reported Wednesday that abuse of prescription opioid painkillers in the U.S. has doubled in 10 years. – CBS News
Fatal overdoses involving heroin skyrocketed from 8% in 2010 to 25% in 2015 — essentially tripling.
The percentage increase of drug overdose deaths among adults aged 55-64 rose from 4.2 per 100,000 in 1999 to 21.8 in 2015.
In 2015, adults aged 45-54 had the highest death rate from drug overdose at 30 deaths per 100,000. – Business Insider
The CDC reports that the drug crisis is directly affecting Americans of all races, ages and socio-economic classes — this should frighten all Americans, because it is impacting everyone from sea to shining sea.
We hear politicians proclaim “jobs for American workers first!” That’s a noble sentiment, but there’s just one problem with that — one article from Axios points out that the drug crisis has created a jobs crisis:
Many Americans are too drugged-out to work
“A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT’s Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl.”
“The reports suggest a circularity to the crisis in America’s rust and manufacturing belts: the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection. “
Some employers and economists estimate that anywhere from 25% to 50% of job applicants in the U.S. do not clear their pre-employment screening drug test. (Axios)
Retailers across the United States are reporting an explosion in shoplifting — experts say this is most likely due to drug addicts resorting to crime and violence to fund their addiction.
There really is no debate: substance abuse is costing the economy at least $1 Trillion annually, crime is virtually rampant, and a large percentage of American workers aren’t getting jobs because they fail the drug test.
How much longer can we continue like this?
“…the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection.” – Axios
So is it a vicious circle? Does a loss of jobs and wage stagnation lead to people feeling hopeless and to numb their pain, they turn to drugs? I don’t have the answer, but one thing is certain — something needs to be done.
Personally, I place much blame on the Pharmaceutical and Medical industry — these pharmaco’s push drugs and there is no good reason why they are allowed to advertise direct to the consumer. Doctors, who have sworn a Hippocratic oath should know better, yet some dispense pain killers like they were candy — many patients become hooked on these opioids and when their supply is eventually cut off, they turn to Heroin or black market painkillers as a substitute. It is a savage cycle caused by greedy corporate drug pushers, and the cost of this legalized drug trafficking becomes the problem of every American citizen. Why hasn’t the government forced these pharmaceutical and medical corporations to help the addicts they in part created?
I also put blame on the media. Our country is obsessed with trashy pop-culture which promotes and glorifies greed, crime and violence — they venerate people like the Kardashians, who despite doing nothing, have become obscenely wealthy. How is that helping people who already feel dis-enfranchised.
Positivity cannot fully thrive unless negativity is confronted and dragged into the light. Our culture and skewed priorities has caused something to go terribly wrong in America — one way for us to get back on track, is a return to a more normalized way of life — one centered on hope, positive thinking, simplicity and values of love, compassion, diligence and hard work. After all, it is those very things that transformed America from a fledgling nation into a beacon of hope to the whole world.
Learn more about this crisis by visiting the sources quoted in this post: