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The Battle of Opioids

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Why do kids keep dying? Why are kids being expelled or put in prison? Adults would love to believe they’re just being stupid kids. They’ll point to the 5 kids who dropped a chunk of concrete on to the 275 highway and killed a 32-year-old motorist. Those kids will be tried as adults and that’s a very unusual case. The only answer can be the rise in popularity of opioids. Drugs use has been plastered all over the mainstream media since the rise of rap on pop radios. It glorifies popping pills and being zoned out until you have no cares or fears in the world. Since this music is so easily accessible now, and rappers, as well as music videos, aim to make this lifestyle seem appealing to the youth, kids will take these bad role models and follow in their footsteps. This has been one of a few factors that led to this meteoric rise in the use of drugs.
Over the counter drugs can be obtained at any pharmacy and have led to the creation of street drugs such as lean that gained popularity for the easy accessibility of all ingredients. Painkillers have been prescribed to kids which leads to addition down the line if used in access. There’s been no choice for kids but to face the overload of drugs into the system leading to many high school kids’ death. This goes back even as far as 2014 when 16-year-old Tara Teitsma lost her life from overdosing at a party on pills given to her by her friend’s mother. However, this is not only a problem for kids but a problem for the whole US a population and has become an epidemic. Drug use has become a problem society is willing to accept and ignore but a solution must be found to combat this; one company believes they have a solution.
Naloxone, more formerly known as Narcan, is a nasal spray that is used for an emergency overdose on opioids. This drug was made to prevent the growing problem of accidental
 overdoses and in hopes that people would attempt to recover after having a near-death experience. Narcan is meant to be implemented in schools, hospitals, and in general public buildings in more urban communities in hopes to catch where most of these overdoses are happening. Each order contains 2 nasal sprays with only one use per nasal spray at $60 an order. This may seem reasonable at first glance but many places are buying these in bulk and when orders of 100-200 of those are made it can add up quickly. The next question is, who is distributing these sprays to the public. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals is one of the largest companies distributing the drug and are only looking to make a profit. After seeing the increase in not only overdoses but sales alike, they decided the best thing to do was substantially raise the prices, over $19 dollars according to The New England Journal of Medicine. This meant companies were caught in a tough position of wanting to by more for the safety of teens and addicts around them but having to lose an arm and a leg to ensure that.
The creator of Narcan is named Roger Crystal, he is a healthcare business mogul, CEO of Opiate Pharmaceuticals and a clinician. He was one of the most crucial contributors to the creation of Naloxone (later named Narcan) and supports the use of it by police officers and schools alike today. Crystal blames it on “the Pharmaceutical companies developing these drugs” including “misprescription of these drugs” and even noting the problem of parental drug use leading a bad example to their kids (CBS San Francisco). This can easily be seen in the increase Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome, a disease found in newborn babies that has tripled in cases in Michigan alone.
Roger Crystal may have created the life-changing drug but it took many years to gain relevance. Naloxone as a drug was patented in 1971 by the Food and Drug Organization, and only later was found and turned into Narcan, when the epidemic started. It’s hard to imagine that such a small discovery at the time would be used 26,000 times as of 1996 and have 644 programs in 30 US states. Drug overdoses are popping up everywhere in America and your demographic doesn’t matter. The poverty-ridden areas are not the only ones faced with this problem, upper-class neighborhoods are being flooded with narcotics and the new possibilities of juuls and vaping in hopes that they’ll latch on to these addictive methods and buy more. Dealers know that these areas are much more reliable and kids especially will get addicted quick, it’s an easy and effective cash grab for dealers. This can lead to a lack of jobs in big name areas as with what’s happened in cities like Dayton and Chicago that have been flooded with narcotics forcing businesses to believe there’s no good working class citizens and moving their locations elsewhere. For kids, once they’re addicted it can lead down a slippery slope as well, getting suspended or even expelled from school, losing any opportunity of college and being forced to deal, making them just like the people that lead them down this path. Tragedy after tragedy can be found in the news, detailing the horrors of drug use with crying parents, begging others to warn the masses of drug use and the pain it can cause. In reality, we all know the harms of drugs, and so did Roger Crystal when he created Narcan. He wants to see Narcan put in all schools and drug populated areas, in hopes to somewhat combat the epidemic upon us. Despite these efforts, it can’t be ignored that the cost of this venture is pricy and the ability for addicts to use this as a crutch to pursue their lifestyles even further. Although Narcan only does the best for people, it still can’t help but be held with controversy.
At Divine Child High School currently has no problems with this, however, we’re not safe from it. Many kids have been caught with vape products such as Juul’s or Sourins which have been labeled as a gateway drug due to your own ability to dictate the nicotine content. Although many would like to dismiss the thought of any harm coming from the rapidly increasing brand that is e-cigarettes, with recent discoveries, it’s hard to deny the potency of these. Kids will start with little to no nicotine and not see a problem and slowly but surely raise the nicotine levels to satisfy their newly made addiction. Soon, vaping will become a daily habit, and they’ll need another way to fix their craving. Many schools in Michigan are facing this problem due to the easy accessibility of e-cigarettes and ad campaigns that target teens. Large companies know that their main demographic is not gonna be people switching over from regular cigarettes and need to entice children in hopes of keeping their sales as high as they are right now. Once most of the student body is partaking in this, it will lead to an increase in the use of marijuana which has also become much more easily accessible and most likely, even worse drugs. Many schools would like to believe they’re safe from the drug epidemic that looms over society but the gateway is open to it now with most drugs being flooded into urban areas and others can be found at your local pharmacy, some are even able to be purchased over the counter like codeine. The youth can be harmed most by this, starting drugs at that early of an age puts a major setback on any life goals and plans you had made. If caught with drugs, most schools will likely suspend or expel you, leading to a huge lack of interest from colleges and the resulting plan of taking any job one can get in hopes to scrounge up a few dollars to make it till the end of the week. Without expenses in mind, Narcan seems like the best option for these schools and big cities to attempt to help these kids and give them the best chance they can get. Although pharmaceutical companies can and will continue to raise the price of the drug, knowing the necessity of it and banking of that opportunity, it’s imperative for everyone to have a combat to the threat of drug use and help its community in any way possible.
It will not be an immediate or fully successful fix of the problem, but after facing the traumatic experience of an overdose, many will try to regain control of their lives and hopefully clean up their act. It’s the best chance that all of us have to help those who’ve made bad choices and must be at least considered by cities.
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The Battle of Opioids