LIMA — The decision to remain silent, overwhelmed, burdened and ashamed of drug-addicted family members is the reason why the opiate crisis has spread, according to Sam Quinones, author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”
Quinones, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, describes the opiate crisis as one of the deadliest in modern history since World War II, affecting people from coast to coast.
Through the Ohio State Bar Association’s “Waking from Dreamland: The Opiate Crisis and Where Ohio Stands in the Fight” webcast seminar, Quinones has been able to speak about impact of the epidemic to viewers in over 20 locations in Ohio, including those at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Monday.
“We want to make sure we are creating community awareness, ensure that there is help in the community and that there are treatment options available,” said Susan Hawk, Chief of Clinical Integration for Behavioral Health at Mercy Health. ” “We want to keep the awareness that opiate addiction is treatable, and we have an obligation to continue that awareness for the options available in the community.”
Going back to the 1980s with overeager doctors hoping to alleviate as much pain as possible through cheap narcotics like Oxycontin, the opioid epidemic has continued to grow into the 21st century, Quinones said.
In order to better address the epidemic, Quinones believes that community members and family members need to come together and begin interacting and communicating more effectively. He also believes that people should advocate for change within correctional facilities so those who are incarcerated receive better treatment than before.
“We are seeing Americans come together to address the issue of breaking down those debilitating silos,” he said. “I encourage you to approach find those county clerks, working alliances, collaboratives, and add your expertise, enthusiasm and energy. Remember you are fighting something much bigger than a widespread addiction. You are combating the even deeper scourge of isolation, fragmentation of America today.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.