Opioid Epidemic Feeds into Hepatitis Epidemic    

What do you do when there’s nothing you can do but you can’t do nothing about it? Well that is the seemingly paradoxical existence we have doped ourselves into. To answer the question, you do what you can. There’s a chemical plague killing the masses and nobody can do anything about it. So much lies out of our power in this life, and the unknown is always looming a few minutes ahead. It’s hard to keep up. Yet with so much uncertainty out there, the one thing we are certain of control in is ourselves. Ultimately we control every bit of our destiny until fate’s doors open up. This is of course unless you’re Bruce Banner. The hulk is not good at controlling himself.

Marvel universe aside, the rest of us choose if we want to be any part of this opioid epidemic or not. We may not be able to choose whether we’re cursed with the disease of alcoholism, but we decide whether to walk away or participate. Get better or fester. Live or die. Yes it’s quite cynical, but that is the reality that this dark disease has swept upon us. Addiction has always been a tragedy at hand, but in regards to the opioid crisis things are worse than ever.

The epidemic has sprung another epidemic out of it, resulting in a syndemic. Hepatitis C, a destructive liver battling virus that causes inflammation, has created a shadow epidemic attached to the hip of addiction. They gladly feed into each other, creating a situation where it’s implausible to have one cease without addressing the other.

Feeding the Epidemic  

The opioid epidemic stands bold due in part to doctors over prescribing their patients, and the other part is smugglers finding ways around America’s phony drug war. Heroin is just as much to blame as anything else. A few of the other top players to mention include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Carfentanil
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Oxycontin/Oxycodone  

The list goes on. These are just the water soluble heavyweight contenders that aid the opioid epidemic into feeding the hepatitis one. They are also at the top of the pharmaceutical food chain as far as contributing to the most amount of overdose deaths.

We have two enlarging catastrophes that require attention immediately, the opioid epidemic and the hepatitis epidemic. What do they have in common? What are their differences? Well the opioid epidemic belongs more to the category of addiction first of all, so we’ll blame that. Addiction starts at birth but lies dormant until activated, more or less. Hepatitis is contracted through blood borne pathogens, usually as the result of some sort of debauchery. That’s open interpretation to be passed through drug use, intercourse, or blood to blood contact however you have it. Addiction then destroys your mental well being. Hepatitis will attack your liver. Addiction can manifest Hepatitis but not the other way around.  

Then we have some of the similarities. Both are diseases that can eventually kill a person, both create other complications in life, and both involve making poor decisions. The opioid epidemic feeds into the hepatitis epidemic in their indifference’s and parallelisms.  

 

Problems Causing Problems

Recent years’ opiate prescriptions have been mandated, with another restriction coming in 2019, yet overdose percentages still increase each year. Several law enforcement agencies(most notably the DEA) along with the Center for Disease Control have made attempts over the last few years to try and contain the opioid outbreak, but with little resolve. It seems like one step forward produces two back in regards to the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, Hepatitis can’t be restrained in the same capacity. New laws can be created for opioids, but Hepatitis cannot be made illegal.  

The reported rise in Hepatitis comes largely from the ill prepared sharing of syringes due to the lifestyle rather than anything else. Lack of needle exchange programs and preventative measures for addiction have allowed the opioid epidemic to feed into the hepatitis epidemic as it has. There are reportedly 4 million Americans diagnosed with Hepatitis C alone. States like Michigan are reporting numbers like 473% increase in Hepatitis cases since 2015. Clearly something is amiss. Of course there’s an even larger amount of addicts/alcoholics than the Hepatitis statistics. To add insult to injury, we gladly lead the world in obesity and heart failure. Kind of seems like we’re just breeding health complications  over here in the United States.

 

Starving the Epidemic

The intensifying number of deaths rising more every day and the constant outbreaks of Hepatitis would make you think the two were airborne diseases.  Fortunately the last few years have began to catch the attention of state legislation members who can actually make a difference; those with voices and money. Since 2015, thirteen states have enacted clean syringe exchange programs to fight the Hepatitis part of double epidemic.

On top of that, many members of Congress and our government have begun their involvement. Even President Trump has signed a new bill in effort to “end the scourge of drug addiction”. So it seems that moves are being made at the top, but how quickly are they actually being implemented? Even though help is on the way, there are so many more lives that will become infected when prevention could’ve occurred sooner. Sometimes soon enough isn’t soon enough, but the derivative of that thought brings us right back to the beginning of the article: what do you do when there’s nothing you can do but you can’t do nothing? Avoid the plague and stay sober. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please give a call today 877-978-1208.