The opioid crisis is a complex issue with many moving parts. What began as an epidemic involving prescription opioids evolved into a crisis spanning dozens of illegal and legal drugs. The advent of illicitly-manufactured fentanyl (IMF) has dramatically altered the trajectory of the crisis, and deaths linked to IMF have increased by 540% since 2016. If we don't act now, the death toll is projected to reach 500,000 by 2027.
There are many frustrating aspects of the opioid crisis, among them being that it continues to
worsen despite the existence of safe and effective, yet woefully underutilized treatments. Addiction experts are unanimous in that early intervention with MAT is key to saving lives and reducing
the opioid related death toll, and our current system is inimical to this mission; incarceration not
only delays this crucial intervention and treatment, it renders addicts more susceptible to
overdosing upon release.
The bottom line is that we can no longer afford to ignore the opioid crisis, and if our system insists on criminalizing drug addiction, thereby taking this deadly public health crisis into its own hands, our correctional centers should at the very least shoulder the responsibility of actually treating and contributing to the rehabilitation of incarcerated addicts.
Please visit our subpage to learn more about ways to reduce overdose fatalities and beat this harrowing crisis once and for all.