CNN Special Show On Prescription Addiction
CNN aired an informative special program on 5/11/2016, Prescription Addiction: Doctors Must Lead Us Out. The one hour special was hosted by Anderson Cooper and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It specifically addressed how the current opioid epidemic in America has been driven by the over prescribing of opioid medication.
Various doctors, recovering addicts, and others participated in an open forum sharing their personal testimonies and factual information about the effect that the opioid addiction is having on American families and communities. The program highlighted that someone in the U.S. dies every 19 minutes from opioid overdose.
The effective opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, was discussed as was the pressing need for all U.S. physicians to become better educated on the dangers of over prescribing opioids. Numerous, troubling examples were shared of how readily physicians provide powerful, potentially addicting medications without thoroughly educating patients on the addictive potential of opioids. Particularly disturbing was this statistic:
“… that 91% of people who survived an overdose were still able to get another opioid prescription, typically from the same prescribing doctor”
An online video of this riveting program is available at the above link as well as an extensive article covering many of the show’s most important points. It is reassuring to see major news media allocating so much coverage to the rising opioid addiction problem. The problem is complex and multi-faceted. Another key component which will merit furthur discussion is how America’s drug culture has unfortunately evolved over decades. Recreational alcohol and drug use are at an all time high, and are heavily promoted in movies, television, music, on the internet, and throughout college life.
This mix of a “party hard” mentality with the unprecedented availability of alcohol & drugs is creating a perpetual high risk scenario that is negatively impacting American society on multiple levels. Today, more youth than ever are looking at marijuana as a “safe” drug with no real consequences – even while research clearly demonstrates how pot and other drug use interfere with adolescent brain development, judgment, reasoning, learning, and motor skills.