President Donald Trump's Commission on the Opioid Crisis recently recommended that the president declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The commission said that such a declaration could free up money to fight the epidemic.
Back in April, we aired a special report about the opioid epidemic here in Appalachia. So this week, we’re going to revisit that story to remember how some Appalachians became addicted, and what a battle for sobriety can be like.
Michael Holdren: Recovering Addict
Michael Holdren, a father of four children, wasn’t always addicted to opioids. Holdren explains that the problem started after an injury obtained from working in the oil fields. He broke his hand at work and was prescribed pain medication for the injury, but the pills seemed to fix his emotional pain as well.
Treating Chronic Pain
Doctors and physicians are finding more and more evidence of recovery through exercise and therapy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, now recommends doctors avoid prescribing opioids as a first resort for chronic pain.
The History of Opioids
Are you in pain today? This is the question that caused opioid prescriptions to skyrocket in the early 2000’s. As pain became a fifth vital sign, doctors felt more obligated to help their patients feel better. With the new “slow acting” pain medication Oxycontin, why wouldn’t you help? What doctors didn’t know before recently is that the pharmaceutical companies told people that the drugs weren’t addictive. This process led to people “doctor shopping” and abusing the prescriptions that led up to what we call the Opioid Epidemic. These days medical professionals are a lot more selective about prescribing narcotics to avoid causing a patient to develop an addiction to opioids. But what happens when the patient doesn’t get what they want?
The Struggle to Stay
Crystal Snyder is an unemployed mother of two and a native of West Virginia. She lost her previous job and now struggles with her next move. Read more.
Have you known anyone who is or was an addict? Tell us about it on Twitter. Here are some responses from our listeners:
Yeah. My brother died from an overdose. Most in WV have a similar story or at least know an addict. https://t.co/4fUq834jnw
— EERSNATION (@EERSNATION) August 10, 2017
This is a problem in so many aspects https://t.co/7YXuvFEXiO
— Sonia Ⓥ (@L0NELYK1NG) August 10, 2017
Yes, my son is so bad with it.
— BETTY (@BettyStephens56) August 11, 2017
You need to interview chronic pain sufferers who are suffering more now..many are contemplating suicide.
— Renee Hernandez (@Jahmai11) August 12, 2017
My cousin is. I was. I had friends and family that would be addicts still if they hadn't already killed themselves by overdosing
— Stevie (@_Redneckonomics) August 11, 2017
Patrick Stephens is our audio mixer. Roxy Todd helped produce. We also had help from Clark Davis and Eric Newhouse.