A pair of articles from Vox:
As a police captain, I see the opioid epidemic every day. It’s worse than you can imagine. - written by Ron Meyers, police captain in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Gov. Chris Christie passed one of the most aggressive laws to combat the opioid epidemic - written by Sarah Frostenson.
Ron Meyer’s piece is an interesting glimpse at the people who are on the front line of opioid epidemic in Ohio. In it, he distinguishes the “drug craze” of abused prescription drugs of the early 2000’s from the current one of heroin and fentanyl. I thought I’d chime in and say, specifically, they’re not different. They’re different phases of the same thing.
If I haven’t written about it before here, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, the oral surgeon sent me, a teenager, home with a month of Vicodin (hydrocodone, an opioid) that I went through in a little over a week, and then gave me another month worth of without batting an eye that I went through the first one so fast. At no point did that man explain to me that Vicodin had a high risk of addiction. Had I been more resourceful with either pressuring medical professionals for drugs (which probably would have worked) or with connections to black market drugs at the time, I could easily imagine myself being a death statistic from this.
Chris Christie signing in the New Jersey law in February addresses all of those complaints - limiting the amount of painkillers that can be prescribed and legally requiring doctors to explain the possibility of addiction. And for those that the limits are too late, but are still drawing breath, it requires health insurers a half year of insurance coverage for addiction treatment.
Christie has rightfully been tapped by President Trump to lead a commission on the opioid problem in this country. I think that he should start by recommending that Congress turns New Jersey’s legislation into a federal law. I am happy to see the Republicans strongly moving in the correct direction on this and I anticipate and hope that the Democrats follow suit.