Opioid Crisis Overshadowed by Presidential Election
The current presidential election year is nothing short of an emotionally-charged experience for many Americans, as it has been with the majority of 2020.
Lurking just underneath the surface of this experience is one of many threats to America’s well-being: the ongoing opioid crisis. Addiction continues to be a problem in the United States, even through COVID, quarantine, social protests, a weakened economy, tax cuts, and climate change.
At American Addiction Centers, a nationwide leader in addiction treatment, we understand the struggle of substance abuse. We provide medical detox and treatment to those in need. If you’re battling an opioid addiction, please reach out for the help that you need.
Opioid Crisis 2020
The opioid epidemic in America is just as real as the pandemic. With two presidential debates and townhalls given by both candidates, as well as one vice presidential debate, the opioid crisis may have seemingly gotten overlooked in the midst of all the pressing issues. But it very much deserves America’s undivided attention.
Many who are addicted to the drug are dying every day. In 2019, 72,000 people died of a drug overdose. Two-thirds of those deaths involved opioids.
And this year, COVID-19 has heightened an already challenging set of circumstances for those addicted. Requiring everyone to quarantine for the purpose of helping to stop the spread of the airborne virus, while medically and socially sound advice, inadvertently may cause stress to a person struggling with substance abuse. Isolation limits access to recovery support services and life-saving treatment.
As the pandemic continues to thrive, so does drug use. Deaths from overdose in the United States increased by13% from the first half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2020. The economic recession also threatens the number of addiction treatment centers, which in turn, will negatively impact the individual struggling with substance abuse if they have fewer options for treatment available.
- About 21%-29% of individuals prescribed opioids for chronic pain don’t use them as prescribed.
- About 4%-6% of individuals who misuse prescription opioids shift to using heroin.
- About 8%-12% of individuals develop an opioid use disorder.
Solutions to Opioid Crisis and Impact of Presidential Election
Before this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created a list of five priorities in order to combat opioid abuse in the U.S.
- Educating: strengthening understanding of epidemic through better public health surveillance.
- Enhancing recovery services and access to treatment.
- Providing support for the research on addiction and pain.
- Enhancing better practices for pain management.
- Advocating for the use of overdose-reversing drugs.
The current administration is seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would directly impact Medicaid expansion, cause millions of Americans to lose insurance coverage, and get rid of coverage for those with substance use disorders. This would make treatment too expensive, even for those who have insurance. Inevitably, individuals on substance use disorder treatment may struggle with withdrawal and may feel their only options are to use street fentanyl or heroin.*
The democratic opponent proposed an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. This will provide universal coverage and will implement substance use disorders into standard health-care practice under Medicare, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Indian Health Service.*
If you’re struggling with opioid use disorder, you’re not alone. We’re here. There are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety and to live a healthy and productive life. Don’t let a battle with substance abuse hinder you. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.
*Disclaimer: American Addiction Centers does not endorse any political party or individual. Information provided is meant to inform on the facts from credible sources.