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Is North America Really Facing an Opioid Crisis?

Opioid addictionHeadlines in newspapers across North America, especially the USA and Canada, detail an opioid crisis that seems to be steadily growing. Experts debate on how to stop this problem from growing and there are many possible solutions that have been discussed. While everyone points out the increase in overdose deaths from heroin and prescription opioid drugs few address the lack of suitable substance abuse treatment programs and other resources that are needed to overcome addiction. Outpatient programs are usually not very effective when it comes to this type of addiction but there are few inpatient programs available in many areas and these often have long waiting lists. When a user actually wants help they are frequently told that it will be weeks or even months before they can get into the treatment program.

There really is an opioid crisis in North America, but this crisis could be addressed with the proper substance abuse treatment programs which are available on demand. Physicians would not dream of telling someone with appendicitis that they must wait for a month or two to have the treatment that they need but this is often exactly what happens when someone with a full blown addiction seeks help. Any delay could lead to further use of these drugs, and that can mean an overdose which could cause death. Opioid addiction should be classified as an emergency and the individual should be able to receive effective substance abuse treatment in a reasonable amount of time. The shortage of quality substance abuse treatment programs makes this impossible though, and those who sought help often go back to using when they do not receive it right away.