Unforeseen Side Effects Of The Ongoing Opiate Crisis

Unforeseen Side Effects Of The Ongoing Opiate Crisis

The Opiate Crisis in the Western world has had some far-reaching effects on the rest of the world.
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While other countries are struggling to provide their patients with enough opiates for cancer and chronic pain patients, the US is having the opposite problem. Though the US makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes close to 80 percent of the world’s Opiate supply.

The International Narcotics Control Board monitors the enforcement of restrictions on Narcotics, yet while the US appears to be overflowing with Opioids and drug overdoses, other countries appear to be struggling to give their patients the bare necessities of medicinal care.

Countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America must make do with what they have, meaning that when they don’t have the necessary Opioids to distribute to those who are truly in pain, those patients end up receiving something such as Acetaminophen, known better by its brand name Tylenol, for conditions that, in the US or Europe, would give them access to much stronger pain relievers.

David Joranson, the director of the Pain Policy Study Group for the University of Wisconsin’s medical school, said of the situation in many third world countries. “It’s the intense fear of addiction, which is often misunderstood. Pain relief hasn’t been given as much attention as the war on drugs has.”

This may be true, as the US also leads the world in drug overdose deaths, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in a report given earlier this year. In their report, they estimate that the US is responsible for close to a quarter of the world’s deaths from drug overdose. It follows logic that the more drugs that are available in a place, even if they are meant for medicinal treatments, the more abuse that can happen, leading to higher rates of death.

Yet while this fear is understandable (nobody wants to have another Opioid crisis like the US is currently experiencing), is it enough to justify people suffering from unnecessary pain and eventual death?

The Opioid crisis appears to be taking the world by storm, and not always in the way people think. Because of the risk of addiction and abuse, and the possibility of overdose deaths, the world appears to have become more afraid of anything that shows the potential for abuse.

This fear may help many countries in the world implement better laws and regulations surrounding the use of Narcotics, but for other countries who already have limited access to these resources, it can prove to be a double-edged sword, leading many to suffer unnecessarily through cancer, AIDS and chronic pain conditions with little to no relief.

So, what do we as a world do when something that can be both so helpful and harmful comes into play? How do we make sure that all those who are truly in need of relief get it, while continuing to research pain relief and look for better treatments, and stop the flow of abuse and deaths due to the disease of addiction?

There may not be a singular answer to this troubling problem, but one solution may be to increase our knowledge of and treatment for Opiate addiction. By increasing the availability of Opiate rehabilitation centers, and continuing to educate the public on what addiction is, how it starts, and the signs to look out for, we can at least calm some fears people have concerning addiction and pain treatment and, maybe, allow those who truly need treatment to safely receive it.


Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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To Try Or Not To Try: All You Need To Know About Microdosing

One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.

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You may have heard of the buzzword "microdosing" before. It means just what it sounds like, taking tiny doses (a tenth, to be exact) of a psychedelic substance. In this case, people eat tiny pieces of psilocybin-imbued fungi because it gives the user "the same boosts of creativity and problem-solving abilities felt during a full trip" but will allow you to function at normal levels throughout the day.

"Microdosing these drugs has become a trend among biologists, software engineers, and mathematicians in Silicon Valley who have said it helps them perform better at work and become more creative and focused without hallucinating." One source actually compares microdosing to yoga, seeing that it results in "similar levels of increased openness, decreased depression, stress, and anxiety and an ability to focus on the present moment so an ability to concentrate." So don't expect the full effects of hallucinations and festival vibes.

Although psychedelic drugs such as "shrooms" and LSD are still very illegal in the US, the trend became popular in Silicon Valley, California around 2010 to enhance divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the ability to think of solutions to problems or scenarios that may have been previously unexplored or take a great deal of creativity to reach. I remember my Sociology class last semester gave us the example of a teacher asking their elementary students to come up with as many different uses for a paperclip that they could. Kids suggested using a paperclip as jewelry, a hook, paper airplanes, etc. But when another teacher asked their high school students the same question, these older students struggled to come up with answers past using it to hold paper together. So, people like to use psilocybin in order to get their brain back to its former levels of imagination and originality thinking.

Since I do not participate in this practice, I cannot personally speak about it. My friend *Sam, however, is experienced with this practice and he was very glad that I was attempting to inform others about it as well. He agrees that "psychedelics can be amazing healers when used correctly." Neither myself, *Sam or The Odyssey are promoting or encouraging the use of illegal substances; however, *Sam had this to say:

"Psychedelics have allowed me to train myself to see things for what they are rather than what I want them to be. I've had only constructive experiences with them. Microdosing has proven to be a helpful way to integrate that sense of letting go into everything I do without becoming too attached to the experience itself, letting me become more effective, kind and generous — traits that have always been there, just hidden by mental blocks. Regarding [psychedelics], or anything really, I think people should challenge every preconception they have and drop the judgment. Or just drop some acid ;)"

Few empirical studies have been conducted to demonstrate the healing effects of microdosing. There are supposedly only three attempts at true scientific studies of the effects of microdosing, while "studies with a control group are now underway, said study co-author Bernhard Hommel, a psychologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands." It's a very difficult market to regulate and control, especially since psychedelic drugs are illegal. Laboratories are attempting to determine if these self-reported anecdotal effects are legitimate or placebo effects. But more and more reputable people seem to be coming out with personal stories of how microdosing seems to have truly improved their mental health for the better.

To read more about a somewhat informal study conducted in The Netherlands, check out LiveScience's "Can 'Microdosing' 'Shrooms Expand Your Creativity? Scientists Are Trying to Find Out."

*name has been changed as per their request

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