Each time the American people think the nation’s opioid crisis cannot get any worse, it gets worse. In 2016, 42,249 people died from opioid overdoses, which comes to 116 deaths every day, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, 11.5 million people misused opioids. It is no longer a community problem, America has become an overdosed nation.
However, in a nation that takes so many prescription medications, perhaps no one should be surprised. One underlying cause of the opioid crisis could be the way people take care of – or fail to take care of – their bodies. Truth is, for many the options are relatively small because health care in America is not cost effective and therefore many have crossed the preventative threshold before considering going to see a doctor. When speaking of America’s overdosed crisis, Dr. Raj Gupta, founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center, had this to say:
There is a reason why Americans feel that the answer to every health problem is a pill, it is because we don’t really have ‘health care’ in America. We employ a ‘sick-care’ model. We only go to the doctor when we are sick. And then we demand that doctors prescribe something for whatever ails us, and if they refuse, we feel like we wasted our time.
America is an overdosed nation that has no problem taking pills, even when they are not necessary. At one time, antibiotics became so over-prescribed that they started to lose their potency. Now, people are doing the same with pills used to combat chronic musculoskeletal pain that results from stress, bad posture, aging bodies, sports injuries, car accidents and other causes.
Dr. Gupta has more than 20 years of experience as a chiropractor and is the well-known author of “Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income, and Their Lives.” Gupta has also been featured in numerous news outlets and has a doctorate in chiropractic from Life University.
Americans need to step back and understand a few reasons why relying on these powerful pain pills may be the wrong solution for what is troubling them. Here are three that Dr. Gupta, the author of “Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives” wanted to share:
First, pills do not correct the problem. A pain pill may temporarily take the pain away, but it does not fix whatever the underlying cause is. When the pill wears off, the pain comes back. Pain is the body’s way of signaling that something is wrong. The doctor m not know why a person is in pain, but Gupta assures that it is not because their body is depleted of Percocet or Oxycodone. If you have a pebble in your shoe that irritates you and worsens with each step, the answer is not a pill called “Pebble Ease.” A pill does not remove the irritant. It covers it up. Pain is a physical problem that requires a physical answer. In other words, the pebble that is causing irritation must be removed and the actual problem addressed in order to find the appropriate resolution.
Second, opioids are addictive, but not always effective. A new study shows that over time opioids do not provide any more relief for people suffering from chronic pain than other pain relievers that do not come with so much risk of addiction. In some cases, people using non-opioid drugs such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, and lidocaine experienced more pain relief than those who used morphine, Vicodin, and oxycodone. People risk becoming addicted to these pills and yet they may not even be getting the pain relief they are seeking. Instead, far too many are on the brink of overdose.
Lastly, people must take responsibility for their own health. True health care consists of doing things that prevent you from getting sick. It involves a balance of proper diet, rest, exercise and a positive mental attitude. Adopting this lifestyle of preventative healthcare will allow you to lead a prosperous, fulfilling life without the need for drugs and surgery.
Today, an estimated 116 overdose deaths a day and more than a thousand trips to the emergency room. This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences. Amid all this tragedy and confusion, public health officials are working hard to circulate potentially lifesaving information. Ads for addiction treatment resources and warnings where local street drugs have been laced with ultra-potent synthetic opioids are becoming increasingly common sights in Americans’ social media newsfeeds. The drug crisis, which many attribute to the streets, far too often stems from medical care.
The country’s culture has been brainwashed to believe that there is a pill for every problem. This mentality leads to overdose. The real solution is that Americans need to move past the current “sick-care” model of health care and concentrate on taking better care of themselves so the need for a pill does not readily arise. As it stands, America is an overdosed nation in need of rehabilitation.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Dr. Raj Gupta: Interview
L.A. Times: For all their risks, opioids had no pain-relieving advantage in a yearlong clinical trial
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioid Overdose Crisis
Top Image Courtesy of Dr. Raj Gupta – Used With Permission
Inline Image Courtesy of Cindy Shebley’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Philippa Willitts’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License