obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or migraines, where less addictive painkillers proved ineffective. Accidental overdoses often happen when opioids are used in conjunction with other prescriptions such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or antianxiety drugs. President Trump’s October 2017 White House speech on the opioid crisis identified the estimated 11 million Americans who are abusing prescription opioids and the estimated 1 million heroin users. He discussed a joint effort on the local and national levels to combat the epidemic, which included solutions for evaluating safe practices for prescriptions and increasing treatment for addiction. In 2015 the amount of opioids prescribed was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks. —The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention T he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that 20 percent of Americans suffer from acute or chronic pain. One in five Americans received an opioid prescription in 2015. The rate of increase of prescriptions has varied greatly by state, but as a nation, the United States has seen sales and distribution nearly quadruple from 1999 to 2014. Because of the severity of the addiction crisis, physicians have pulled back on their prescribing of opioids, but some say not enough. Half of the acci- dental deaths due to opioid overdose were caused by prescriptions. And the rise in addiction is hap- pening primarily in blue-collar communities, where chronic pain is higher, and health insurance bene- fits make way for regular prescribed opioid use. The drugstore chain CVS announced recently that it would curb prescriptions to seven-day supplies, and drug companies are increasing the retraining of prescribers. Lawmakers still are trying to determine whether stronger regulations on prescriptions might curb the epidemic. I thought loving him would make his addiction go away. —Linda, on FacingAddiction.org A ccording to the CDC, every 19 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from an acci- dental drug overdose. The number has surged in the last 10 years due to an increase in prescription pain medicine use, or overdoses of illicit drugs that are feeding an addiction gener- ated by prescription painkillers. In 2012, Linda’s son, Jake, became another one of those statistics. On facingaddiction.org, Linda reveals the pain of losing her son. Like many who succumb to opioids, he spent years going through the cycle of detox, rehab, and recovery. Just when he thought he’d beat the urge to use, he relapsed for the last time. The GroundTruth Project podcast The Fix describes how the most dangerous time for an addict is during a relapse, after an addict has recovered and is no longer physically resilient to lethal-level drug cocktails. Those who are able to break the cycle of addiction are the ones who accept the battle long after the 28 days of rehab are over, who realize that they are most vulnerable when their lives are “back to normal,” and who are equipped and supported to handle struggles Ī WWW.AGRM.ORG JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 9