Dear Presidential Candidates,
Today, 130 people will die - just in the U.S. - due to an opioid overdose. To date, 25 million people across the globe - including 2.5 million children - have died due to death by overdose.
More people die from Opioid overdoses than all car accidents and gun violence.
This is, according to every health agency in the world, the most serious epidemic killing human beings today. Chances are you know more more than one victim of overdose.
A landmark case in Oklahoma against Johnson & Johnson yesterday ruled they must pay $572 million to the state, since the company not only toned down the deadly effects of Opioids but also also pushed the reasons why physicians should write prescriptions for the drugs.
Although this may seem like a win for those looking to help stem this vicious epidemic, the actual judgement that Oklahoma had requested was $17 billion.
In Montclair, one police offer told this reporter they plan to hold more assemblies in the high school this fall. Their goal is not to focus on the law but instead, on the many deaths drugs have caused over the past few years right here in town. With so many students very familiar with the grief caused by a friend or relative's death due to drugs, this should be a powerful program.
In the past two years, I have known 3 young people who have died from Opioid overdoses. One of the victims, who was in his early thirties, was not using drugs for at least a year, but relapsed. His body, not used to the drugs anymore, could not tolerate his dose. His one relapse cost him his life.
Millions of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and others are grieving for lives lost to this crushing epidemic. Though this payout may help residents of Oklahoma, if the money is truly used for working with drug addicts trying to stay clean, the real solution is
nowhere in sight.
We are enduring a plague that is not being spoken about by our politicians looking to become the next president. Many families are still ashamed of the circumstances that lead to their loved one's death, and the stigma of being a drug addict seems to be stronger than the outcry every citizen on the planet should be making to stop this scourge.
I do not have the answers but I do have a question for all citizens of the Earth and especially for all U.S. presidential candidates.
What will YOU do to start saving lives that are being lost to Opioid drugs?
This letter has been sent to presidential candidates.