A feeling of inadequacy meets an environment of availability

That’s how the drug culture was able to flourish and become an epidemic.

With the digital age, that which we thought would connect us more, connected us less. We became busier, families no longer were growing up in towns together, kids were getting less freestyle playground time, and 45% less face-to-face time with friends and family than the generation before.

All of that fostered a culture where a lot of people felt down, anxious, lonely and isolated. The lack of face time and freestyle play meant kids didn’t develop the coping skills and the resilience that goes with that freestyle playground experience.

Meanwhile, the US became the number one consumers of prescription pain medication.

The US makes up 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioid drugs. Prescription opioid drugs contribute to 40 percent of all US opioid overdose deaths.

(Source)

Aggressive and unethical marketing practices of highly addictive pain medications by pharmaceutical companies led to overprescribing by physicians which meant there were a lot of leftover medications in medicine cabinets.

Meanwhile, people became less tolerant of pain.

As a result, prescription pain medication became normalized for managing all kinds of aches and pains including emotional difficulties. As we became busier, our reliance on the easy fix increased.

With a culture of inadequacy, people turned to using drugs and alcohol as a coping strategy. Given the fact this new crop of medications was highly addictive, the epidemic flourished. Greed by big pharma fueled that crisis and set off a domino effect the likes of which we will be untangling ourselves for decades.

Meanwhile, our loved ones died and are still dying by the thousands per day. And my son, Charles, was one of them. His antidote to depression and thoughts of suicide were drugs and alcohol and it was while he was going through withdrawal that he took his own life.

We created this “bubonic plague” and repairing this will take all of our voices, effort, policies, and love.

If you’ve been effected by this epidemic, find somewhere to plug in to foster change. We need you.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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