The Travesty of the Times
An epidemic of massive proportions. A general thought for how to solve problems.
I’ve contemplated the contents of this post for some time now, though have never put my thoughts on paper. In truth, I do not know all the answers, particularly on issues such as this. However, I truly believe in the power of collective knowledge and awareness helping to bring about a better reality.
Think for a second about how many tragically died from Covid-19 since we first learned about the virus in early 2020. In the United States alone, nearly 800k have died as of this writing. With such a high number, you may think that Covid was the only cause of the death. Or at least the only major cause.
Amid the Covid pandemic, a rather devastating epidemic has been raging on for the better part of a decade. In a 12 month period between April 2020 and 2021, more than 100,000 died in the United States from drug overdoses. This primarily involves overdoses from opioids such as fentanyl. Over the last roughly 20 years, nearly 1,000,000 people died this way, with the numbers only rising.
What is most lethal about these facts is that many of you reading this may have had no idea that this was occurring. Rightfully so, any other preventable cause of death at this scale would receive wall-to-wall coverage along with periodic marches on Washington and other state capitals to demand solutions. Since this is not getting the attention it deserves, far too many people continue to fall victim to its possibility. However, to work to solve this problem we need to ask ourselves why so many people are taking these drugs that are so clearly fatal?
Of course, there are a number of reasons why someone may turn to opioids such as heroin and, unbeknownst to many, fentanyl. Particularly in the Midwestern US and places in the “Rust Belt”, the plight of the factory and stagnant or decreasing economic circumstances have led many to seek an escape from the wretched reality that has been imposed upon them. Unfortunately for many living under this reality, the promise of a better world seemed to leave them out.
One path to drugs and addiction that is statistically the most avoidable and arguably the most devastating is the prevalence of unnecessary knee surgeries. As strange as this may sound, its impact is staggering. Certain findings show that nearly 3 in every 4 surgeries could be avoided. To put these numbers in perspective, more than 600,000 people have knee surgery every year. Of this number, any of them are at severe risk of drug addiction. Since these surgeries are very painful, patients are generally prescribed highly addictive pain medication like Oxycontin or Percocet. The resultant addiction leads them to crave more of the drug once their directed dosage runs out, and often steers them to abusing cheaper, illicit opioids like heroin on the black market. Do you see the problem here?
Horrifyingly, many of those who fall victim to unnecessary surgeries and eventual addiction are those from the poorest sectors of society as well as younger people. As a result, we are seeing future generations destroyed by drugs. Sadly, it appears that many of these people have simply been written off by much of the broader public.
How can this end? By bringing awareness is generally a good place to start. More so reading about it. I was fortunate to have been assigned Dreamland by Sam Quinones while in college to make myself aware of this issue. It was one of the few books I read which were assigned to me.
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Books I’m currently reading:
“In anarchy… my loyalty is given to an individual who is familiar to me; whereas in empire it is to a great abstraction that I owe allegiance.” - Yoram Hazrony
“Free time and passive income”
Until next time…