Politicians run on different campaign platforms in order to help improve their state. They have the ability to change the course of action by creating new laws as well as programs to fix problems their state is facing. With the opiate epidemic steamrolling through many of the states in the U.S., politicians want change. They are tired of the astronomical numbers of overdoses killing their citizens as well as clogging up their prison system for drug use.
The governor-elect of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, has made it very clear that a key priority of his administration is to fight the opiate epidemic. His administration will be working towards the root of the opiate epidemic, which is the leading cause of accidental death in Massachusetts. “I would like to do something on this certainly in the first six months,” Baker said, adding, “This is going to be a big issue for me, I’ll tell you that.” “We have a prescription medication problem, which I think is where most of this starts,” he said. “And I think you need to involve the health care community in a pretty serious way in this conversation.”
Governor-elect Baker was recently affected directly by the opiate epidemic. His son, who is a wide receiver on his college football team had his arm broken in two places when he was trying to catch a pass. Baker answered a call from his son from the ambulance on the way to the hospital. His son was prescribed Percocet for the pain and this scared the Governor-elect. Baker said he was “[expletive] scared out of my mind” at the prospect his own child could grow reliant on the medication. Opiates can be prescribed to anyone at any time for an accident or acute pain. That person who takes the medication may enjoy the way the medication makes them feel. The Governor-elect made it very clear to his son that he wants him off the medication as soon as he is able to switch to over-the-counter pain medications. Unfortunately this is how many addicts start out using. They are prescribed a medication for a serious injury, but find themselves continuing to take the pills ever after their pain goes away. After a while of using, the addict will either be cut off from their doctor, and they will find a new source to get the pills. As their addiction progresses, it gets more expensive and many make the switch over to heroin because it's much cheaper and provides the same euphoric feeling.
No one decides that they want to become a heroin or painkiller addict. It is something that happens to thousands of people a year who are prescribed narcotic painkillers for a legit purpose from their doctor. The issues rely on the amounts of these medications being filled for acute pain and the amount of time the patients are told to take them. Many times the dangers involved with these medications are not fully explained to the patients. The Governor-elect will be putting together a coalition of labor leaders, elected Politicians and health care officials to curtail the usage of prescription painkillers. If they put enough emphasis on the prescription painkiller side, it will have a direct effect on the amount of people that will eventually move towards heroin. It is important to put a great amount of energy into educating the public and getting into the schools. Teaching young teenagers the dangers of prescription painkillers will save countless lives.