You Wreck Me

“There’s a deeper reason why a celebrity death hasn’t arrested the opioid crisis: The problems are systemic and too entrenched to be shaken by a few high-profile victims. About 91 people now die from opioid overdoses every day, the CDC says—a conservative estimate—thanks to a potent mix of stigmas, addictions, lack of awareness and inadequate access to care and prevention.” Over the weekend, we learned that Tom Petty’s death was caused by prescription drugs, including (of course) opioids.

+ “A week or so after Ledger’s death, a couple of young felons opened a cash-only, walk-in pain clinic near Fort Lauderdale. They hired doctors who prescribed massive quantities of opioids to drug addicts, many of whom traveled from Appalachian states to Florida to load up on oxycodone and Xanax. Local police watched helplessly as American Pain became the biggest pain clinic in the country.” Few people understand the opioid crisis better than John Temple. He reflects on where we are, 10 years after Heath Ledger’s death.

+ The NYT,1 Son, 4 Overdoses, 6 Hours: “The torrent of people who have died in the opioid crisis has transfixed and horrified the nation, with overdose now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. But most drug users do not die. Far more, like Patrick, are snared for years in a consuming, grinding, unending cycle of addiction.” (This crisis is a full-on American tragedy; a perfect storm of bad elements. There are policies to blame. There are companies to blame. Urgent action is needed. Kellyanne Conway is the administration’s person in charge.)

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