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The Opioid Crisis: A Cruel Form of Deja Vu

The opioid crisis that currently plagues the United States, is the deadliest drug epidemic this country has ever seen; however this is not the first – it may be the worst- drug crisis history has seen. In a shocking article entitled “An Opioid Crisis Foretold” from the ​The New York Times​ the editorial-board details how the Opioid Crisis of today is simply history repeating itself. Drug abuse is not a new phenomenon and the societies of past have also struggled to combat such persistent epidemics. The articles brings to light the events of history that parallel the crisis of today: ​“​As many as 313,000 people were addicted to injected morphine and smoked opium in the United States in the late 19th century”, according to ​David Courtwright​, a history professor at the University of North Florida who has written extensively about drugs. ​Another scholar, R. K. Newman, estimated​ that as many as 16.2 million Chinese were dependent on opium and smoked the drug daily. In the United States today, about ​2.6 million people suffer from opioid use disorder.​ But some experts say that data, which is based on a government survey, underestimates the number of pain patients who are addicted to their prescription pills because of how surveyors ask people about drug use; the actual number might exceed ​five million​.” ​People often claim we must learn from history in order to prevent repetition of mistakes, it seems to me that in this case the medical community has failed to do just that.

“In the 19th century, like today, the medical community was largely responsible for the epidemic. Doctors did not fully appreciate the risks these drugs posed. In the 1800s, many doctors viewed morphine as a wonder drug for pain, diarrhea, nerves and alcoholism. In addition to getting homemakers, Civil War veterans and others addicted, many doctors become addicts themselves. The drug was overused in large part because there were few alternatives; aspirin, for example, didn’t become available until the late 1890s … ​Today’s opioid crisis has its roots in the 1990s, when prescriptions for painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin started to become common. Companies like Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, aggressively peddled the idea that these drugs were not addictive with the help of dubious or misinterpreted research. One short ​1980 letter to The New England Journal of Medicine​ by Dr. Hershel Jick and Jane Porter said the risk of addiction was less than one percent, based on an analysis of nearly 12,000 hospital patients who were given opioid painkillers. That letter was widely — and incorrectly — cited as evidence that opioids were safe.”

So what do we do now?

I think it begins with not only treating those who are already suffering from addiction but it also means tackling the root of the problem: making sure history does not repeat itself once more. To do that the country needs to not only provide treatment but also prioritize bringing awareness to the problem. Knowledge is a powerful weapon. Here at BrainSpark Health we are dedicated to not only making our community aware of the crisis addiction is causing but also providing a holistic, compassionate, and regenerative solution. With our treatment we aim is to treat the source of the dependency and craving: the brain. We do this by jump starting it with a chemical spark, combining holistic, alternative medicine and social reprogramming instead of the conventional treatment currently available and proven to have over 85% failure rate. Click here to learn more about our ​Addiction Recovery Treatment​.

Ciara Levine – Clinical Director (Psychiatric Nurse, MSN, RN, PMHCNS)

Ciara is our Intake Coordinator/Mental Health Professional that offers an atmosphere of support so that together we can work to alleviate distress and make lasting changes. We will have the opportunity to make positive and healthy improvements to your life. My professional and personal journey have led me to be compassionate, direct and goal oriented with my clients. My approach is interactive, utilizing the theories of cognitive behavioral therapy and family systems therapy.

As a registered nurse for 22 years and an advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse for 18 years, I have had the opportunity of helping countless individuals achieve behavioral changes that have resulted in lasting improvements in their lives.

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