A decent HBO documentary about America’s opioid crisis raises questions perhaps you can answer and elicits observations based on my own experiences.
Last night, I finally got around to watching HBO’s Warning: This Drug May Kill You, a documentary about the opioid addiction problem America is facing. It’s a decent documentary that looks at four middle class families, all of which lost someone to prescription drug or heroin addictions (with the point being made that prescription drugs triggered the heroin addictions). After watching it, I ended up with three questions and a couple of observations:
Question 1 arose from the very first shot in the documentary, which opened with the stark words that America is facing an “unprecedented” drug crisis. I wonder if that’s true. I mean, I know it’s true in raw numbers, because our population is around 300,000,000. That’s why the Department of Health and Human Services can say “More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid.”
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there isn’t a serious problem in the U.S., one made more serious by the fact that smart phones and the internet mean that the problem plays out in front of all of us, all the time, with a never-ending series of photos and videos showing crying children stuck in cars and stores with parents and grandparents passed out from drugs. For example:
I’m just wondering if this current drug crisis really is the worst ever. My life has been peppered with “worst ever” drug crises, from the hippies with their hallucinogenic and opioid overdoses, to the coked-up 70s and 80s, the cracked-up 80s and 90s, and the current meth problem. I just wonder, as a percentage of the population, how bad this particular crisis is. After all, back in the late 19th century, opiates were over-the-counter and through-the-newspaper-ad-section drugs and were used everywhere. [Read more…]