Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Hazelden battles opioids by dispensing them
“Do you have any questions about your prescription?” asked the gal behind the pharmacy counter at CVS.
“Yeah, how do you keep from becoming addicted?” I replied. She was taken aback, smiled uncomfortably and muttered something like “Oh you’ll be fine” before pushing the bag at me.
I wasn’t worried about myself. I was picking up opioid painkillers for my son, suffering from an inflamed throat that felt like “swallowing broken glass.”
In one of those coincidences that would look trite in fiction but happens in real life, I had just been on the phone with William Moyers, vice president of public affairs for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He was in Chicago for a speech and called me, well, because that’s what vice presidents of public affairs do.
“Opioids are the Trojan horse of addiction,” said Moyers. “They sneak up on us and our families and communities like no other substance of misuse. That’s what makes it so scary. They’re clean, easy, legitimate and omnipotent.”
That’s what worried me. Fifty percent more people died of opioid overdoses in 2014 than died in car wrecks. Some 75 people die every day in the United States from opioid overdose, an “epidemic” which suddenly is being compared with the HIV-AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
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