Our intern Jenna Silver comes to us through the Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo Institute for Workforce and Community Studies at CSUCI. She has been working hard, participating in our Reality Parties and in Be the DD events, and is developing a social media awareness campaign.
Recently, she wrote this letter to the VC Star in response to their 1/30/15 article entitled “Local hospitals create ER policy to reduce pain pill abuse.” In this article, it was reported that leaders of the eight emergency rooms adopted strict drug use policies where they won’t prescribe some opioids, including OxyContin. Jenna’s response is below. It was published in VC Star on February 18.
I would like to comment on this article about local hospitals creating an emergency-room policy to reduce pain pill use (“Local hospitals create ER policy to reduce pain pill abuse,” VC Star, January 30, 2015).
I’m a college intern with Straight Up, a nonprofit in Ventura County that engages teens and young adults in action and advocacy for social change. I’ve learned that there are a number of sides to understand when it comes to prescription drug use, addiction and accountability.
I want to point out that the article seems to focus on one single issue, which is the easy access that addicts and drug-seekers have to prescription pills, but I think that there is more to be considered. We also need to shift some of the focus on getting them the treatment they need, especially considering that prescription pain killers are now the leading cause of drug-related deaths. Locally, 103 people died of overdoses in 2012.
Instead of criticizing people who end up in this position, it is important to take a compassionate view of the struggles addicts go through and realize that addiction is a deadly disease. The best way to help addicts is to get them through proper treatment.
Of course, it’s still important to make sure prescription pills are only being given to those truly in need, as that is a huge factor in the equation. But since a large number of people addicted to pain pills don’t even go through emergency rooms to access pills, treatment for addicts as a whole should be the main focus.
Nonetheless, the new ER policy is a step in the right direction towards fighting addiction, and hopefully will only improve from here on out.