As the American Civil war continues between the Left and Right, millions are stuck in the middle. As we review the nightly news we are reminded of the deadly crack cocaine epidemic with each new story regarding opioids. This issue is destroying the landscape of America faster than ideological differences. Three required elements in a new national anti-opioid health policy should include: lifting police restraints on prescription monitors, enforcing school information sharing and expanding programs for women’s drug abuse.
Pharmacies-The New Dope Spot
Prescription Monitoring Programs must allow police instant direct access to data. According to the US Office on Women’s Health, over 50% of opioid overdoses are from prescriptions. Currently, police forces obtain information once an investigation is underway through a warrant. If police were to obtain data on a daily and real time basis and compared script grouping, trafficking would be evident. The names of script users can be compared to criminal histories connecting new prescriptions with opioid traffickers. The data may also connect groupings in certain areas that would alert police to the trafficker’s newest market. Secondly, the ability for police to regularly monitor surveillance of pharmacies through connection to store camera systems allows immediate recognition of traffickers. Putting a face where the prescription is, would make monitoring on the street easier. We must make it easier for police, not the dope dealers to stop this epidemic.
According to an article by the Washington Post, 1.3 million 12- to 17-year-olds have a substance abuse disorder with 12 to 19 years old accounting for 12 percent of all admissions to publicly funded rehabs. In combating the epidemic, any person in school from elementary to college with an opioid prescription must report it to the school counselor or health center. Their doctors must directly report the usage and include prescription information to the schools as well. All of the students prescription information must be shared with the school’s police liaison or college police force who forward to municipal police forces. Opioids are known to be a “shared drug”. The more information the easier for the surrounding students to be monitored.
We, as a nation, are witnessing the havoc drug addiction in women causes the entire familial structure for generations again. We learned through the crack epidemic that women’s drug abuse has severe consequences for society, not just their immediate families. According to the US Office on Women’s Health, close to 30% of all women between the ages of 18-44 have filled a prescription for opioids since 2008. A 2013 Vital Signs CDC report stated every 3 minutes a women is treated in the emergency room for painkiller misuse. The National Institutes of Health has found very similar long term medical dysfunctions in children born from opioid abusing women as crack. Opioid orphans are increasing across the US with Kentucky having the highest rate with 70,000. The US foster care system cannot find placement for these orphans as entire Matriarchal systems fall to drugs. If we can’t help our American women, generations of dysfunction and drug addiction will not cease. Increased detox centers, Suboxone and counseling centers geared toward women’s addiction is imperative.
The federal government must take ownership of this epidemic. We must not allow the states to continue mishandling and financially starving addiction programming. We are losing on a state by state basis. Fix it or it will fix us.