Written by Jennifer Nicolaisen of SeekHealing
By examining the underlying cause of our national epidemic, we can not only save lives, but also create a more productive workforce. It’s more complex than you think, however.
You can’t turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without seeing a story about the opioid epidemic, but let’s clarify: It’s not the opioid-compound drugs themselves that are the epidemic. The problem that is reaching epidemic proportions in this case is overdose deaths. It’s an overdose epidemic.
Here in Western North Carolina, the overdose epidemic has rapidly intensified in recent years. From 1999 to 2017, more than 13,000 in our state lost their lives to unintentional opioid overdose. The curve over time is exponential. We lost 1,884 in 2017 alone. That’s more than five North Carolinians each day. Even worse, the collateral damage from these lost lives is impossible to measure: Friends, partners, relatives, and children across the state are navigating the grief and trauma that result from such painful and confusing loss.
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