Earlier today, President Barack Obama sat down with rapper Macklemore to address a growing concern in America (and the entire world at large): addiction. More specifically, addiction to opioids.
I can attest through firsthand experience how easy it is to become addicted to prescription painkillers, anxiolytics/benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics designed to treat acute insomnia. Not even a month after fracturing my fibula and tibia on my left foot following a skydiving accident, I slowly built up an addiction to opioids.
It started off with Vicodin, then I eventually graduated to hydromorphone, methadone and eventually morphine. And of course, I, like many others who became addicts, shared the mindset that “This can’t happen to me!” Boy, was I wrong. Luckily, I had great, positive people and family around me who helped me wean off them completely — and yes, it is true, withdrawals are f*cking hell! Unfortunately for many others, a loving support group like the one I was fortunate enough to have is pretty damn rare.
Macklemore humbly shares his experiences with his opioid addiction, before President Obama shared some startling statistics about drug overdoses and the fact that “44% of Americans know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers.”
This recent weekly address from our Commander In Chief comes months after his administration proposed to set aside $1.1B in a “new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use,” which will include:
• $920 million to support cooperative agreements with States to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. States will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it. States can use these funds to expand treatment capacity and make services more affordable.
• $50 million in National Health Service Corps funding to expand access to substance use treatment providers. This funding will help support approximately 700 providers able to provide substance use disorder treatment services, including medication-assisted treatment, in areas across the country most in need of behavioral health providers.
• $30 million to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs employing medication-assisted treatment under real-world conditions and help identify opportunities to improve treatment for patients with opioid use disorders.