The opioid epidemic is something that affects the lives of millions of people living in the US. It’s a part of practically every community in the country, including many wealthier areas you wouldn’t otherwise expect.
The causes of the opioid epidemic, however, remain complex, meaning that a single policy or intervention is unlikely to resolve the problem. The only way to deal with the issues that the opioid epidemic presents is to attack it on multiple fronts. Only then, with all systems in place, can we reduce the problem as a whole.
One of the main drivers, to the surprise of many, is the medical system itself. Physicians and care practitioners often over-prescribe opioid-containing drugs, putting those who are susceptible to developing addictions at risk. The solution is not to avoid prescribing these drugs altogether but to identify and publish the details of doctors who prescribe them more than average. Doctors need to be put under pressure to prevent handing out medications which are unnecessary and may harm patients.
The solutions to the opioid epidemic are more wide-ranging and complex than just that single intervention. But what exactly can society do to remedy the problem? Are there a set of solutions we can implement that will make a difference on a macro level?
Take a look at the following infographic. It shows some of the steps that we can take as individuals and society as a whole to overcome the problem of opioid addiction and improve the lives of millions of substance abuse sufferers.
Infographic by University of Arizona