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A close up image of an orange Rx bottle of white pills that is spilling on to a table next to a metal stethoscope and empty syringe.

The Seriousness of the Opioid Crisis

addiction opioids overdose May 01, 2023

Written by a CSUCI student.

Prior to having taken a class that specifically talked about the opioid crisis in the United States, I truly had no knowledge of any of this. It is very interesting to actually learn about different experiences and also from real-life experiences. Personally, I feel that it is very easy to read an article discussing this serious issue and not really make any connections. However, when these issues are connected to a person, it becomes that much more real. This semester I had the opportunity to actually learn and hear from different people’s perspectives on opioids and this just made me realize how serious this crisis really is. 

I’ve learned a lot about how opioids are very accessible to youth, especially when families have opioids in the house due to medical reasons. Not only this, but I have realized the importance of having conversations with the youth and exposing them to this topic. Many do not realize the actual consequences of opioids or do not realize how serious this addiction can be. Having these conversations with adolescents about how addicting these types of drugs are can reduce their chances of using because they have actual knowledge on this issue. I recently researched this topic for a class and had no idea that in Ventura County, alone, 200 people die from overdoses related to opioids every year. Also, that 1 in 5 teens will abuse drugs. These stats seem much more realistic when they are referring to the community in which you grew up in. This was not even a topic I had considered before. 

Something very serious that comes with the development in this issue is that medical advisors do not really explain the risks and dangers that are associated with opioids. Doctors have contributed to this crisis in the way that their role as medical practitioners is to inform the public on any risks associated with medications and I believe that this is something they fail to do. I saw this first-hand when my mom had received opioids due to a condition she developed. The opioids were given to manage her pain; however, she did not even realize that these drugs were addictive or how dangerous they really are. Also, since my mom does not speak English, she could not read the information on the prescription bottle. This is something that is also not talked about. Language barriers do play a role in this opioid crisis in the way that if individuals cannot understand the risks of medication being given to them, how will they take precautionary measures? This was honestly something very frustrating to see because doctors need to inform patients about these risks, but they fail to do so.

After taking this class that has taught me so much about the opioid crisis, I have realized just how important this issue is and how much awareness needs to be raised. I read in an article relating to Ventura County that this county has developed programs to help combat this issue. However, I feel that it is important for schools to implement classes that teach about these programs and inform students, especially since they are the most vulnerable. Combating the opioid crisis and helping those in recovery is very crucial in order to succeed as a community. I just want those who are facing this issue to know that they are not alone and that there is help available to them. I have seen the effects of drug abuse, first-hand, and this is such a tragedy to see. So many lives are wasted because individuals are not being informed by medical practitioners. There is help available to those who want help and support groups to help with recovery.

For information about opioids, overdose, safe medication disposal and more, visit Ventura County Responds.