LCHM Winter18 - 15

L C M E D S O C .O R G

Coping with a



s the nation grapples with an epidemic
of addiction to opiates and heroin, the
AMA Alliance is finding ways to support
communities to educate and bring easily
implemented, common-sense solutions to every
corner of the nation.
The AMA Alliance Board decided in 2015 to
take on the problem of opioid misuse as a public
health crisis as one of our national initiatives. It
is important to us as an Alliance to improve the
health and well-being of our communities and
help eliminate this scourge in our society and
the devastation it causes to families. It is also vital
to reduce the stigma associated with addiction
and promote national best-practice standards to
allow individuals suffering from the disease of
addiction to get the help they need and deserve.

In 2015, 52,000 people - sons, daughters,
sisters and brothers - died as a result of drug
overdoses in the U.S., with 33,000 of those
people dying due to opioids and heroin specifically.
That is more than 142 people who die each day,
the equivalent of a plane crash. Deaths due to
opioid overdoses now exceed car accidents and
are the leading cause of accidental death in the
United States each year.
We know that addiction knows no boundaries
and cuts across all demographics. It does not care
where you live, how much money you make
or where you went to school. We know that
addiction is a long-term, chronic, debilitating,
potentially fatal disease. Addiction affects entire
families, especially the children of those afflicted.
It is the reason for 83% of those incarcerated. It
touches us all, some personally and all as citizens
and taxpayers. It is critical to understand the
reasons for this recent explosion in opioid misuse
and address it systematically.
Continued on page 16

Excerpted from an article originally published in the
Fall 2017 issue of Physician Family
WINTER 2018 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 15


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Winter18

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