It is happening in every town in the United States. It does not matter if you live in a large city or a tiny country town, opiates are affecting your community. Open your newspaper and you will see a story on opiates. Whether the story is about them directly or crimes caused because of an addict, they are everywhere and putting people's lives in danger. The death rate in the United States puts drug overdoses as the number one cause of accidental deaths. It has surpassed car accidents for the number one spot.
The reason that opiates are so rampant can not be blamed on just one thing. During the mid 2000's prescription painkillers were heavily over-prescribed. In the state of Florida, pill mills were very popular. People could go to a pill mill and get prescribed medications every day of the month as long as they had cash. It was a very shady and illegal practice and since then, most of the doctors involved in pill mills were arrested and lost their privilege to to practice medicine in the state. People were going to Florida from all over the United States to get the pills and either abused them or sell them to other addicts or dealers.
The damage that abusing opiates cause to communities is terrible. Even the safest of towns have been affected and the most of the crime is drug related. Many times the drugs are either for prescription opiates or heroin. People directly think of heroin when they hear about opiates but the reason that heroin addicts use is because they first got hooked on pain pills. Painkillers are the start to a very tough and stressful life when they are abused. The addiction quickly becomes overpowering and every thought that an addict has keeps their addiction in mind. Imagine worrying every morning where you are going to get your drugs so you don't get violently ill. You are buying something that is illegal and you are buying from people who do not care about you. They are drug dealers and only care about your money. It's not uncommon for dealers to rob their customers, or even addicts pretending to be dealers to rob other addicts for drugs and money. There is no such thing as calling the cops because someone took your money and didn't give you drugs.
Since opiates are destroying lives and affecting many non-users in the community, many town are putting together opiate task forces. These opiate task forces are formed to bring awareness to the communities. Most are comprised of law enforcement, health department officials, prosecutors office, addiction and substance abuse counselors, teachers and recovering addicts. They want to educate the community on sign and symptoms of addiction and to provide information that can educate people before they become addicted. Many young teens become addicted to these drugs because they are not aware of how addicting they are. They think that prescription painkillers can not be that bad because the drugs can be found in their own parents medicine cabinets. Prescription painkillers are looked at as a safe drug and that couldn't be further from the truth. If your town does not have an opiate task force, contact your prosecutors office or your local health department and demand one. It will educate your community and it will save lives.