The numbers are sobering: tens of thousands of Americans who die each year from abuse of the class of pain-relief drugs known as opioids. What’s much-lesser known is the human toll of suffering and death that opioid abuse wreaks on communities.
It is a problem not confined to what many might believe are the usual suspects. Opioid abuse is distressingly common across barriers of urban and rural, or rich and poor. It involves both abuse of legally prescribed drugs and illegal use of similar substances sold via clandestine trafficking.
Law enforcement and health care leaders have each strongly sounded warnings of the crisis, and their words deserve to be heded by all of us. Overdose deaths should not have claimed 64,000 Americans, as happened last year.
There has been some movement, in Georgia and elsewhere, to more aggressively address widespread drug addiction that leaves too many dead, incarcerated, or otherwise a drain on society. More can, and should, be done.
On this page today, we present three viewpoints on opioid abuse and its societal consequences. The writers eloquently describe the problem and point out practical strategies toward gaining control of this societal scourge.
Their advice deserves consideration, and should be followed-up with action by policymakers in Georgia, and elsewhere.
Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.