Faces of the Opioid Epidemic: America fights against silent enemy

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“There has to be an end in sight. We have to win this.”

Every day, hundreds of Americans die from overdosing on opioids.

This issue has now become a crisis and America has declared war.

“My administration is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency,” said President Donald Trump.

Now that we’ve declared war against the drugs, we must create a sense of urgency.

So far, Congress has allotted $100 billion over the next five years to combat the enemy.  

But is money really enough?

“There is no silver bullet or easy way to solve this problem. This is a human problem, a human condition. It’s a condition that needs solved, one person, one incident, and one situation at a time,” said Lisa Ziegenfelder, CEO of the Ziegenfelder Company.

With our mission focused, it’s time to pick our battles, carefully.

Officials have suggested finding alternative pain medications, teaching children to say no from an early age, and even taxing the drugs.

But it’s clear, no matter what we do, the old ways of fixing the problem aren’t going to cut it.

“There’s things we have to do differently. This is a whole different war than we’ve ever fought before. It’s a social challenge and we’re going to lose a generation or more if we don’t do something,” said Senator Joe Manchin.

“I’m not ready to throw in the towel and say this thing is the new norm. I don’t accept it as the new norm. It’s destroying too many families,” added Congressman David McKinley.

The battle has started, but this isn’t a problem we can resolve in just a few months or years.

It’s going to take us decades or generations.

While that might seem discouraging, it’s realistic. 

“The current wave of the opioid epidemic started over the last couple decades, but the real war on drugs started almost 100 years ago. We need to look at it from that perspective, said Dr. Michael Brumage, Director of West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control Policy.

But no matter how long it takes, it’s all about the fight.

We need to believe Americans will beat this enemy. 

It’s only a matter of time.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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