Practically every American knows that the scourge of opioid use is of epidemic proportions. More than 100 people die each day due to either prescription painkillers or illicit opiates like heroin and fentanyl. While government agencies report some 2 million opioid use disorder cases in the U.S., a recent study indicates the real number may be significantly higher.
The global management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. believes there could be 6 million Americans living with an opioid use disorder. Without treatment, the condition worsens, and the risk of overdose increases exponentially. Fortunately, evidence-based therapies exist, and men and women can find lasting recovery.
In the last decade, public health experts and policymakers have taken drastic measures to save lives. Efforts include new prescribing guidelines, increasing access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and passing legislation to help expand access to treatment.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act both channeled more funding to ending the epidemic. While both measures are a step in the right direction, much more is needed to rein in the crisis. Greater access to recovery resources has only a limited effect if millions of people are reticent about seeking help.
The stigma of addiction is ever present, despite science confirming that alcohol and substance use disorder are medical conditions. Behavioral health disorders are not, as many people still believe, a moral failing or a testament to a lack of willpower. If the latter were true, experts would not include use disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
It’s vital that more be done to encourage those struggling to seek addiction treatment services. We can empower people living with an opioid use disorder to seek help by breaking the silence around this public health crisis.
Recovery is possible; the millions of people working programs around the globe are proof of that fact. However, the stigma of addiction still prevails, and millions continue to suffer needlessly. One method of encouraging men and women to seek treatment is through sharing stories of healing. Accounts of personal recovery can reverberate and inspire actions that lead to change.
Globally, some 2.38 billion people use Facebook. While most status updates are of little importance, the platform can also be harnessed to do good. The “social network” connects struggling individuals with people who may have solutions.
Facebook has joined forces with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids + Center on Addiction, to launch a new campaign. Stop Opioid Silence (SOS) is a national public awareness campaign encouraging those with opioid use disorder to seek help. The initiative asks people to share their stories of loss, hope, and recovery with the world. The campaign writes:
“More than half of all Americans know someone affected by the opioid crisis, and only about one quarter of those with opioid addiction get the treatment they need… It’s time to break the silence around this epidemic and help end the stigma that too often prevents people from speaking up and getting help. Together, we can fight this public health crisis that is killing one of us every 11 minutes.”
If you would like to help end the stigma of addiction by sharing your story, please click here for more information. There is an SOS Alarm toolkit available to assist those interested in participating. Those who are uncomfortable with sharing their story can still get involved by amplifying the campaign’s message on social media.
Are you or a loved one in need of help? If so, please reach out to Southern California Addiction Center at your earliest convenience. We are determined to help clients live their life free from addiction. Located in the City of Temecula, we offer a safe, stable, loving, and caring environment that is the ideal place to begin the journey of long-term recovery.