Greater than 80% reduction in annual opioid use over the past century

Author: Mr. S.W.Varcoe May 2012

drug in the past 30 days has decreased 38% from its peak in 1979 (14.1%) to 2009 (8.7%). Equally impressive are statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has documented a greater than 80% reduction in annual opioid use over the past century!”8,9,10

Yet, there is more to professional health management strategies than economic rationalism. Disease control is a primary goal of good health management policy/strategies. Eradication of any disease is the ultimate goal, but in the interim, management practices can be used with an attempt to alleviate symptoms and to improve health status, enabling best opportunities to work toward recovery and wellness. When there is any option for recovery/wholeness then that becomes the goal.

No good health professional will refuse or omit such options when they are available.

For instance, when it comes to the epidemiology of a disease, treating physicians look to a number of factors, including the agent of contagion. They look to manage, negate and prevent these agents from spreading.

Illicit drug use dependency has now been widely touted as a ‘disease’ and as such the term ‘disease’ has an ever morphing definition in various diagnostic manuals. Regardless of the definition, treatment principles still remain the same – the containment, cessation and future prevention of this disease. Two key factors must be addressed if any sort of positive health outcome is going to be achieved…

a) Susceptibility factors of the patient

b) Exposure factors to the patient

So in treating the disease of drug dependency/addiction one must address both of these factors to have best hope of the drug user becoming healthy again – The health that a) saves money b) keeps you from harm c) enables your full productive potential d) adds to your and the communities general well-being.

The question we now have to ask of any measure that will increase accessibility, permissibility and availability of illicit drugs is, will it exacerbate or alleviate a) susceptibility factors and b) exposure factors? If it does the former, then we have breached good, professional and fiscally responsible health care practice. Any action/method/process that enables the increase or worsening of these two factors is at best reprehensible and at worse culpable and worthy of malpractice suites and license revocation.

When it comes to the mental, physical and emotional health of society’s citizens and particularly its children, any measure that increases the exposure or susceptibility to a disease must be, if not eradicated, utterly contained. To do less is to collapse the very core of what good governance and good health care strategy is for a nation.

When the already available, well managed and effectively deployed ‘exposure’ preventing tool of criminality is employed, we are half way to achieving best potential for full recovery. Removing this proactively used mechanism will only see the opposite be true in a community.

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