All day people all over the country have been waiting for President Trump to make his formal announcement of the opioid epidemic as a national emergency. Finally, the time for the event at the White House has come, but the announcement has some wondering if enough is being said. So we want to take a little bit of time to talk about some of the highlights from the president’s announcement.
President Donald Trump did give a detailed speech regarding many efforts that are being pursued to combat the opioid epidemic in America. Yet, some are saying that he didn’t say enough about how these resources would be funded, pointing out his declaration was for a Public Health Emergency.
So what does it all mean? Why does the difference matter?
Public Health VS National Disaster
To be clear, both are forms of national emergency declarations. What is the big deal? Well, the difference is the scope and funding that comes with address each order. So today, President Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed his acting secretary of health and human services to declare a national health emergency. According to a senior White House official, this designation that will not automatically allocate additional federal funding for the crisis.
If the president has utilized the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, otherwise calling the opioid epidemic a national disaster, the federal government would have been able to immediately tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids.
Some may say this move was made since the Stafford Act is traditionally used for natural disaster relief, such as with recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. President Trump and President Obama’s administration officials both say that using the Stafford Act would have been too broad and put an unwarranted burden on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Which seems somewhat likely, since this fund is already being depleted by recovery efforts from the three major hurricanes that hit the United States this year.
Overall, it seems many officials from this and the previous administration feel that a Public Health Emergency was a more appropriate choice out of the two.
What Will Public Health Emergency Do?
The order from President Trump will do some good, including:
- Expanding access to telemedicine to get treatment for those in rural areas
- Instructing agencies to limit bureaucratic delays for dispensing grant money
- Secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed
- Shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible
- Expands Narcan access
The nationwide health emergency that Trump ordered is more direct but comes with less immediate action.
According to Senior White House officials, they will be following up by working with Congress to get more money for the Public Health Emergency Fund. Which is a good start, since critics are quick to point out there is only $57,000 in this fund.
It is also said to increase federal funding in year-end budget deals currently being negotiated in Congress. In fact, Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey introduced a bill this week that would provide $45 billion for opioid abuse prevention, surveillance, and treatment over 10 years. But will it ever see the light of day?
The President Trump Plan: Pros
There were various parts of the speech from President Trump that did hint at some interesting ideas. Some pros and some cons include:
Expanding Treatment Options
Possibly one of the bigger moves here is that President Trump said his administration would also be working to reduce regulatory barriers that prevent people from getting treatment, such as one that bars Medicaid from paying for addiction treatment in residential rehab facilities larger than 16 beds.
If the president can remove some of these hurdles, more people may have access to better options for treatment.
National Institute of Health has taken the first steps of instituting a public-private partnership that will be working toward research and resources including:
- New treatment for addiction
- New treatment for overdose
The president also said,
“We are already distributing nearly $1 billion in grants for addiction prevention and treatment. And over $50 million to support law enforcement programs that assist those facing prison and facing addiction.”
For one, Trump said that the Department of Justice is bringing indictments against Chinese drug traffickers responsible for bringing deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the country.
Another interesting announcement made by President Trump is that the federal government will soon be bringing major lawsuits against people and companies that are involved in the overprescribing and other shady practices concerning prescription drugs.
Pulling Dangerous Prescription Drugs
Trump also says the FDA is now requiring drug companies that manufacture one high-risk opioid, Opana ER, be withdrawn from the market immediately. He states,
“We are requiring that specific opioid, which is truly evil, to be taken off the market immediately.”
President Trump also states his administration will also be pushing for the development of non-addict pain medications.
The President Trump Plan: Cons
President Trump did in many cases acknowledge some useful aspects of combatting the epidemic. But, there were also some ideas that continue to fall short of innovative.
President Trump is also emphasizing the use of a “Massive advertising campaign” to keep young people from doing drugs in the first place. President Trump said-
“- they will see the devastation and ruination it causes to people and people’s lives.”
“The fact is if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them. And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing. Really tough, really big, really great advertising.”
While prevention and education are extremely important, many criticize this strategy saying that these old tactics of “Just Say No” and the D.A.R.E. program just don’t work. This advertising might have been useful if focused on treatment options, but if it is more of the scare tactics of “Refer Madness” then we probably won’t see much improvement.
The Commander in Chief also took this opportunity to promote the building of the wall between the United States and Mexico, stating:
“90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border, where we will be building the wall, which will be greatly helping this problem!”
He took time in his speech to highlight the need to “breaking up gangs and distribution efforts” as a primary way to curb the epidemic.
Of course, the wall is often an issue of contention. Many experts have argued since President Trump proposed this as the key element of his war on opioids that attacking the supply has never worked with preventing the spread of addiction. And even if it did, many believe the wall will do little to prevent drugs from being brought into America from south of the border.
Some experts are still saying this is not a proper plan because while it does allow federal agencies to move grant money, it establishes no immediate funding for a crisis that killed over 64,000 Americans last year.
Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives today narrowly passed a Senate-approved budget resolution 216 to 212, that some experts claim will cause all $1 trillion cut to Medicaid and $500 million cut to Medicare. Many recovery advocates fear that with the ambiguity concerning health care coverage there will not be enough resources in time to provide treatment to those in need.
Some representatives still believe more funding needs to be committed to the issue, while others say that many people struggling with addiction don’t have health insurance and that more must be done to expand coverage.
The chairman of President Trump’s opioid commission Chris Christie commended the president, calling his announcement a “bold action” to address the opioid crisis. The opioid commission will present a comprehensive plan next week with the final report on November 1st.
No matter what your opinion at this point, we can all agree we need to be moving forward. This means taking an honest look at what is working and what isn’t. Still, the fact that the highest office in the nation has taken the time to address the issue in such terms is hopefully a sign of dramatic change on the way. Only time will tell how this latest move from President Trump will truly impact the opioid epidemic. For now, there is sure to be plenty of debate over the weight of today’s statements and how they will influence policy. There are some promises to be kept, for sure.
There is a lot more to this conversation, but for now, we have to hope that some of these new opportunities will give options and hope to those in America suffering tragically. The opioid crisis is nothing we can expect to be fixed by one person overnight. We have to continue to provide resources to those in need. Palm Healthcare Company facilities have proudly provided addiction treatment resources for decades to those in need. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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If that headline seems kind of confusing, don’t worry, it should. Technically insurance companies are already required by law to provide the same coverage for substance abuse and mental health that they do for other health conditions… and therein lies the issue.
Back in August the White House Opioid Commission, established by President Trump and led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, made several recommendations to the current administration about how to address the current drug crisis as it damages communities across the country. One of those recommendations was to declare a national emergency, while others had to do with options for prevention and education.
In the aftermath of ex-DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi’s eye-opening interview exposing the shady connections between Congress and Big Pharma companies, many have been looking closely at how government officials and multi-billion dollar empires helped create the opioid epidemic. Now the White House’s Opioid Commission is putting a focus on how health insurance companies and the flaws in their policies have contributed to the intensifying addiction crisis.
So with the opioid commission saying they will call-out insurers and make demands on coverage for addiction treatment, will more people have access to help?
Restricted Addiction Treatment
One of the biggest issues the opioid commission seems to have with insurance companies is that frequently their policies only cover one type of addiction treatment and not others. It seems insurance companies are convinced that with a complex and extremely personal issue like substance use disorder or mental health conditions, there is a one-size-fits-all answer. Sadly, most advocates can tell you this isn’t the case.
Something else especially frustrating is that laws already exist to prevent insurers from treating addiction treatment different than any other health issue. Chris Christie himself said,
“Why are we still not seeing addiction services covered, and mental health services covered as broadly as every other type of disease?”
“And what do we need to do to make sure that the law is enforced and followed?”
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health insurers to treat mental health and substance abuse disorders the same as any other disease. It means they should provide health care coverage for these conditions without additional limits, co-pays or deductibles. If companies add on additional requirements, it creates even more barriers between the suffering individual and treatment. Sadly, not every insurance company thinks it has to play by the rules.
A task force convened by President Barack Obama last year reported that numerous insurance companies still place a number of limits on addiction coverage, like more strict pre-authorization requirements. The insurance companies claim that their policies are only part of a complex problem, insisting that the issue also has to do with shortages of doctors and poor medical training from healthcare providers in the field of addiction treatment.
However, the simple fact that insurance companies are still trying to push back against supporting addiction treatment has the opioid commission ready to address the inconsistencies that are making it even harder for people who need help to get the help they deserve.
Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
The opioid commission is not holding back when it comes to trying to make insurance companies contribute to solutions since they helped contribute to the problem. The New Jersey Governor warned health insurance companies to be prepared for a final report that will “place new demands” on health insurance policies.
Christie and the opioid commission seem to be playing offense, saying Big Pharma drug companies and health insurers profit while allowing an epidemic of addiction to continue, but these new demands will hopefully change all that. Christie added,
“I’m a capitalist. I want everybody to make profits. I think it’s great. But we can’t any longer go about addressing this problem this way,”
“I hope you’re prepared to accept the challenge, because we know if it hasn’t gotten into your own house yet, it could, and then all the sudden your perspective on this problem could become markedly different.”
Not only is there more pressure on insurance companies when it comes to treatment options in their policies, but with how they handle medications in the first place.
Health insurance providers are also under a greater deal of scrutiny for policies that sometimes favor powerful and addictive painkillers over less addictive, and more expensive, variations. So not only are they limiting the options when it comes to getting treatment for substance abuse, but they are limiting coverage of medications to more addictive drugs to save money.
Insurance providers did show up to testify at the commission to help create a more comprehensive view of the issue. Involved were executives from some of the nation’s largest insurance companies:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- Kaiser Permanente
- UnitedHealth Group
- UPMC Health Plan
Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, also has questions for many of those same companies. Some of these inquiries stem from a report by The New York Times last month stating insurance companies “erected more hurdles to approving addiction treatments than for the addictive substances themselves.”
Cummings wrote letters to seven of the companies which state,
“This is not a hypothetical problem. The over-prescription of opioids leads to addiction and death.”
The White House’s opioid commission has also spoken with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. All this shows that the opioid commission is not only worried about exploring our options for fixing the issue but also in examining all the elements that helped cause the opioid epidemic in America. Christie says the final report to President Trump will include sweeping recommendations but will also be “extraordinarily instructive in terms of how we got here, which is an important thing for this commission to acknowledge.”
The commission will hold its last meeting November 1st before delivering its final report to the President. Only time will tell what demands this report plans to place on insurance companies to provide more coverage for addiction treatment services.
Will Insurance Companies Change?
The big question becomes how will this impact the services offered by insurance companies. Will the opioid commission’s suggestions help shape new policies, or will some insurance companies continue to ignore the parity laws put in place to make sure they do not discriminate against the treatment of substance abuse?
Will these changes allow for the coverage of different innovative and holistic treatment options, or will the change only support programs that depend on maintenance drugs like methadone or Suboxone?
Hopefully, the new demands being put on insurance companies will help to support mental health and substance abuse parity. When it comes to addressing addiction in America, we need every resource we can get in order to move forward with overcoming the opioid epidemic. With more officials taking a closer look at every aspect of the issue, perhaps we can get a more effective strategy for addressing the problem.
With so many people struggling with opioids and other drugs across the country, comprehensive and effective treatment is essential to making any real progress. For decades Palm Healthcare Company facilities have been providing holistic addiction treatment options that help create lasting change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free now.
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Back in August, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis began urging President Trump to declare a national public health emergency to combat the opioid crisis that has crippled countless communities around America. While the President did soon enough say that he believed the opioid epidemic was indeed a national emergency, the actual official process has yet to begin. However, just this week news broke that President Trump will soon formally declare the “national emergency” status of the opioid crisis.
Reports indicate President Trump plans to make the official declaration next week. It seems appropriate following the explosive exposé following the story on ’60 Minutes’ of former DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi pointing a finger at Big Pharma companies, Congress, and lobbyists for fueling the opioid epidemic.
In fact, Republican Representative Tom Marino, who was the top pick for the Trump administrations Drug Czar, was name-dropped in a less than flattering light in the ’60 Minutes’ piece. Reports today now show Marino has withdrawn from consideration following the story.
So what does this newest revelation mean for combatting the opioid crisis?
One of the initial reasons for declaring a national emergency is pretty straight-forward; raising awareness. Not that we don’t see enough shocking news stories or warnings from local officials being issued in various states, but more attention on the issue will help channel more resources into actually helping address it.
As the commission states in their report:
“It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will,”
“You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency, and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.”
When the President of the United States says something is a priority, people take notice. Regardless of whether people always agree on politics, when we can all get behind a major issue and put effort into a more inclusive conversation, there is a better chance more can be done.
Overcoming Addiction Stigma
One of the most important aspects of fighting addiction is overcoming the addiction stigma itself. Many people who are suffering do not get the help they need because they are afraid of the stereotypes associated with drug abuse. A lot of people still doubt what the majority of the medical and scientific communities have adopted as fact; that addiction is a health issue, not a moral failing.
By declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency, President Trump has an opportunity to promote education along with public awareness. The more we can help people to understand how addiction affects the mind and body, the better odds we have of supporting those struggling with compassionate and effective treatment options.
Funding for Fighting Opioids
Perhaps one of the biggest hopes for many addiction recovery advocates is that by President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency he will influence lawmakers to allocate more funding to resources combatting addiction.
A federal declaration would also allow the government to pull funding from other areas as well, such as funding used for the Public Health Emergency Fund, or even the federal Disaster Relief Fund. So while America has been struck pretty hard by hurricanes and natural disasters, some of this same funding may end up going toward creating addiction resources.
One thing many are hoping is that these new funds will also go to promoting more addiction treatment options across the country. Some states may pursue incentives for performance-based enhanced care management (ECM) program, like one recently implemented in New Jersey. Others may put those resources into prevention and education initiatives.
One thing should seem pretty clear; treatment options should be a priority. We already know we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. The War on Drugs did not work, and many do not expect it will now either. With President Trump declaring the national emergency, hopefully, the new effort will go into protecting mental health and substance abuse parity with healthcare and insurance providers. If we have more ways to help those already desperately in need, we could see a better chance for a way out.
With the CDC stating an estimated 91 Americans dying every single day from opioid-related death, which many experts believe is grossly underreported, helping more people fighting opioid addiction find a way out is crucial. However, we should not wait on politicians, health officials or anyone else to fix it. Recovery takes action. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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Drug overdoses killed 64,000 Americans last year. That is an increase of more than 20% than the overdose deaths in 2015. Those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 2000. Now nearly two-thirds of overdose deaths are from by opioids. Some are from prescription opioids; others are from illicit heroin or synthetics like fentanyl.
However, some are concerned that the action we have seen thus far is too little too late. The president’s 2018 budget only increases addiction treatment funding by less than 2%. That already includes the $500 million appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act. So needless to say, many recovery advocates worry that the resources are just not going to be enough.
If we look at the recommendations of the president’s opioid commission, and at other initiatives that have started to gain some traction across the country, we can find patterns. There are some concepts that consistently show up, and perhaps if we focus on these similarities, we can see why so many minds are thinking alike.
So here are 5 big ways America can overcome the opioid epidemic.
Break the Stigma
In order to accomplish most of the things on this list, America first has to consistently fight to break the stigma of drug use and addiction. Misunderstanding what addiction is and how it happens only undermines progress to addressing it. If America hopes to overcome the opioid crisis, we have to be more willing to see it for what it is.
Right now the issue of addiction stigma is still a big deal. While we may have come a long way from how it was decades ago, there are still a lot of people who refuse to consider addiction as an illness. A lot of people still refuse to acknowledge the various factors that contribute to addiction, such as genetic predisposition and instead insist addiction is purely by choice.
If we can see how drug use affects people from all different walks of life, and for countless different reasons, we can then treat those suffering from more compassion. Finding more effective methods of treatment means having a better idea of what really causes addiction, and what feeds it.
Support PAARI, NOT Punishment
Speaking of compassion, supporting PAARI and not punishment is a perfect example of letting go of stigma to work toward saving lives.
It is about time that all of America realizes that the old ways of the failed War on Drugs do not work. Thankfully, it seems a lot more people across the country now understand that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Harsher punishments and severe sentences have not deterred addiction, they only support stigma.
Now in America, there are nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across 31 states that have Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative programs (PAARI). These PAARI programs offer treatment for drug users who come to authorities looking for a way out. Instead of fearing the threat of arrest, people struggling with substances are encouraged to reach out to law enforcement in order to be put in contact with treatment options or recovery networks.
This revolutionary new mindset was inspired by a department in Gloucester, Massachusetts not too long ago. So far these efforts appear to cost much less and with better results than efforts focused on punishing addicts.
Create Resources for Treatment
Today addiction medicine is an urgently needed specialty, but there is not much glory in it compared to other areas of medical work. One way the federal government could help create more resources for treatment is to provide tuition incentives for medical students to enter addiction-related specialties and work in underserved communities. By encouraging this kind of work, we further shed the stigma of addiction and shift the perspective to helping care for a vulnerable community.
But don’t just end with specialists.
By supporting things like Medicaid expansion, addiction and mental health treatment can be made available to more people who may not have access to healthcare under limited coverage. More state and federal funding can also be allocated by officials to help build or strengthen addiction treatment programs provided by the state.
Enforce Mental Health Parity
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 actually requires insurers provide equal benefits for mental health and addiction treatment that they do with other medical therapies or surgery. Thus, the law means to make discrimination against addicts by insurers illegal.
However, some insurers defy this law by imposing illogical treatment limits or tedious authorization requirements. In other words, insurance companies are finding ways to cheat the system in order to avoid paying for addiction and mental health treatment.
America and our government must to better to enforce mental health parity. If we want people to get the treatment they need, we have to protect their right to treatment and assure that insurance providers won’t be able to skip out on the bill.
According to John Renner, president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, between 50%- 70% of people with substance abuse problems also suffer from a mental health disorder such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
With mental health and addiction so closely related, making sure those struggling with opioids and other substances receive care for mental health disorders or other co-occurring conditions it vital to lasting recovery.
First and foremost; preserve life! This should always be a priority when facing any kind of epidemic. Regardless of the circumstances, the preservation of life should always be paramount. This is a discussion that has become crucial in the fight against opioids considering the need for life-saving medications and harm reduction tactics.
At the moment, first responders and emergency rooms do not have adequate access to Naloxone or Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to save lives. Both federal and state health agencies can negotiate pricing for naloxone and expand access. They can also encourage pharmacies that offer prescription-free access in some areas.
Another aspect of saving lives involves harm reduction strategies, which tend to be a little more controversial. Not everyone likes to support programs like safe injection sites or needle exchange programs. However, whether you think these programs enable addiction or not, these programs are proven to help preserve life. Between preventing the spread of infectious disease and providing a supported environment in case of overdose, these harm reduction models can prevent a lot of needless loss of life.
One indisputable precedence in the effort to overcome opioids is keeping people suffering alive long enough to get them treatment. The more people we can help survive opioid addiction, the more people have a chance of recovering.
Drug abuse and addiction is a devastating and deadly disease, and providing effective and compassionate treatment makes a lifelong difference. Part of solving the problem is changing the way we look at it and changing how we treat each other. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
For anyone out there who (like me) loves the allure and intrigue of conspiracy theories, the new upcoming mini-series Wormwood on Netflix should absolutely be a Roswell-sized-blip on your radar. The show is described as part documentary, part drama (and in my early predictions- all awesomeness). Set to the backdrop of the 1950s and 1960s, the show is going to delve into the notorious Project MK-ULTRA.
Should we be excited about an intense take on CIA spooks, mind control experiments and a murder mystery?! Uh… YEA! Well, at least I am, obviously. The trailer released shows off cinematography that looks dark, edgy and eerie, with a tone that fits the content. For a little backstory about the twisted conspiracy behind the show Wormwood on Netflix, let’s take a face plant down the rabbit hole of Project MK-ULTRA.
The operation began in the early 1950s and was officially sanctioned in 1953. It was designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Cold War era when- as the trailer says- “the most dangerous weapon is information.” MK-ULTRA was kept hidden for about two decades due to the fact that the experiments were done on human subjects, which were at times illegal and most notably because the subjects did not consent and had no idea what was being done to them. The organized efforts of the project included entities such as:
- The Scientific Intelligence Division of the CIA
- Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps
These invasive and supposedly damaging experiments were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture. The idea was to learn how to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control, but the implications of these methods may also suggest far more sinister ways to utilize these tactics.
For years people thought it was truly a paranoid dream, and considering the massive scope of the project, once finally revealed, there is no wonder why. According to a 1984 broadcast of 60 Minutes, MK-ULTRA involved more than 130 research programs within various known institutions, including:
- 44 of them being colleges and universities
- 15 research foundations, chemical or pharmaceutical companies
- 12 hospitals or clinics
- 3 prisons
Project MK-ULTRA conducted many illegal activities. One incredibly controversial method was the use of unsuspecting U.S. and Canadian citizens as test subjects. But the most notorious of all is probably the use of LSD and other chemicals to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions.So essentially anyone from inmates and hospital patients to college students and Big Pharma customers could have been exposed to some of the most mind-bending, drug-induced illusions without their knowledge at the will of the United States government.
The world remembers well learning that government agencies were forcing hallucinogenic drugs onto citizens, but this is just one method of psychological torture via drug abuse in Project MK-ULTRA.
Forced Drug Experiments
While LSD is the drug most commonly associated with MK-ULTRA, the program is said to have utilized several other drugs in their illegal testing, including:
The CIA Cover Up
To touch on the timeline of Project MK-Ultra being exposed:
1973- CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed
1975- The Church Committee of the U.S. Congress first brought MK-ULTRA to the attention to the public.
A Gerald Ford commission was tasked to investigate CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact the destruction of the documents in 1973.
1977- Senate hearings began following a request from the Freedom of Information Act that uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents connected to MK-ULTRA.
2001- Even more information regarding MK-ULTRA became declassified
Now the world is well aware that the CIA, in cahoots with other entities, was behind hundreds of mind-control experiments. These horrific tortures and inhumane experiments are said to have left some people mentally and emotionally crippled for life. Hopefully, the new series Wormwood on Netflix will also give us a closer look at home some of these victims were able to recover, if at all.
Wormwood on Netflix makes it Personal
Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris gives this illustrious conspiracy story new texture and connection using dramatic reenactments with real-life interviews. Beyond that, the series Wormwood on Netflix also stands to humanize the drama, making it a much more personal and relatable scenario.
Enter the incarnation portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard of Dr. Olson. The real-life CIA biochemist Dr. Frank Olson died after falling 10 stories from a New York City hotel room in 1953. Dr. Olson’s death at the time was ruled a suicide. However, his family and others believe that he was actually assassinated by the CIA. Dr. Olson’s son, Eric Olson, is also part of the series.
Eric Olson and his brother Nils have made it their life’s mission to uncover the truth about their father’s death. Eric Olson has spent over 60 years investigating.
As if an indirect admission of fault, the Olson family actually received a settlement of $750,000 and a personal apology from then-President Gerald Ford and CIA Director William Colby. This came 20 years after Olson’s death in 1976, after all the documents pertaining to MK-ULTRA began to surface. Then in 1994, a second autopsy was conducted on the body of Frank Olson, which is said to have revealed injuries that had “likely occurred before the fall” leading many to believe that Frank Olson was killed by the CIA.
One way or another, Wormwood on Netflix is sure to be a very interesting ride. With the ominous overtone of impending espionage, chemical warfare, spy games and murder this show is set to take something that is so real it’s scary and packages it in a way that is sure to pull us in.
At risk of tempting a Netflix binge, there are some very good documentaries and other films related to substance abuse, drug policy and addiction. There are all kinds of resources out there to stay informed about the history of drug use and the risks associated with it. Find a way to learn more and if you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
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With substance use disorder and addiction being such a prevalent problem in America, we think it is crucial for people to understand substance use and addiction as best as they possibly can. Part of looking at which professions have the highest rate of substance use disorder is not just about making people aware of how common it is in the workplace, but also to break the stigma of substance use disorder and show that drugs and alcohol impact people in every workplace, from entry level to executives.
Resources of Substance Use Rates
In April of 2015 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a survey that combined data collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from every year between 2008 and 2012 to find out which professions held the highest rates of:
The NSDUH assess symptoms of dependence or abuse of alcohol or drugs through a series of questions included in their survey. The questions are based on the criteria described by the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). It defines illicit drugs as:
The NSDUH uses the definition of heavy alcohol use of:
- 5 or more drinks on the same occasion
- 5 or more days in the past 30 days
The rating system includes full-time workers from age 18 up to age 64.
Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Substance Use Disorder?
In the following categories, number represents the percentage of works out of all those surveyed between 2008 and 2012.
Heavy Alcohol Use
- Mining workers- 5%
- Construction- 5%
- Accommodations/Food Services- 8%
- Arts/Entertainment/Recreation- 5%
- Utilities- 3%
- Wholesale trade- 2%
- Management/Administrative support/waste management- 9%
- Manufacturing- 7%
- Agriculture/forestry/fishing/hunting- 4%
- Retail trade- 0%
- Transportation and warehousing- 8%
- Other services (except public administration)- 5%
- Real estate/rental/leasing- 5%
- Information- 1%
- Professional/scientific/technical services- 7%
- Finance and insurance- 4%
- Public administration- 6%
- Educational services- 7%
- Health care and social assistance- 4%
Illicit Drug Use
The overall rate of illicit substance use among full-time workers, between the age of 18 to 64 years old, who admitted to having used within a month of taking the survey was 8.6% of workers. That may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that is a percentage of ALL professions it is actually a lot bigger than you think.
- Accommodations and food services- 1%
- Arts/Entertainment/Recreation- 7%
- Management/Administrative support/waste management- 1%
- Information- 7%
- Construction- 6%
- Other services (except public administration)- 2%
- Real estate/Rental/Leasing- 9%
- Retail trade- 3%
- Professional, scientific and technical services- 0%
- Wholesale trade- 8%
- Manufacturing- 4%
- Finance and insurance- 5%
- Utilities- 1%
- Transportation and warehousing- 9%
- Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/Hunting- 7%
- Health care and social assistance- 5%
- Mining- 0%
- Educational services- 8%
- Public administration- 3%
Substance Use Disorder
When it comes to substance use disorder the data is collected for full-time workers from age 18 to 64 that fit the criteria for substance use disorder within a year of taking the survey. The rates of substance use disorder in different professions include:
- Accommodations and food services- 9%
- Construction- 3%
- Arts/Entertainment/Recreation- 9%
- Mining workers- 8%
- Utilities- 5%
- Management/Administrative support/waste management- 4%
- Retail trade-5%
- Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/Hunting- 5%
- Wholesale trade- 4%
- Other services (except public administration)- 1%
- Real estate/Rental/Leasing- 0%
- Information- 8%
- Finance and insurance- 4%
- Manufacturing- 3%
- Transportation and warehousing- 1%
- Professional, scientific and technical services- 8%
- Public administration- 2%
- Health care and social assistance- 7%
- Educational services- 5%
Different Job Substance Use Trends
When looking at these rankings we can see a few professions that are consistently represented in the top five of all three categories.
NOTE: Remember the top ranks are not based on the overall number of users, but on the percentage of the total industry.
#1 in Heavy Alcohol Use– Mining Workers
121,000 mining workers that were surveyed contributed to the top ranking percent in an industry for heavy alcohol use. This number may seem small compared to the high numbers of heavy alcohol use in other professions. But think of it like this- If there are:
- 100,000 nurses and 70 of them drink heavily
- 100 miners and 70 of them drink heavily
Which would you think it a bigger issue?
#1 in Illicit Drug Use– Accommodations and food services
Accommodations and food services came in as the top rated profession for illicit drug use. According to the numbers of all those in this industry measured, approximately 1,169,000 were recorded for illicit drug use within a month of the survey.
This statistic does not change when accounting for gender or age differences. What this suggests is there may be something unique about this industry and how people end up using drugs more often working in accommodations and food services more than anywhere else.
#1 in Substance Use Disorder- Accommodations and food services
In terms of substance use disorder the accommodations and food services industry again come in at the top of the list. This time, the numbers of those surveyed shows that approximately 1,038,000 people in this profession actually fit the criteria from the DSM-IV for substance use disorder.
But unlike with illicit drug use, this rating did not stay the same when adjusting for age or gender differences. So what does that mean?
It means the higher rates of substance use disorder in the accommodation and food industry depends on the demographics employed in that industry. For example, if you look at age:
- 18-25 years old this industry is number 2
- 26-34 years old its number 1
- 35-49 years old this industry is number 3
- 50-64 years old its only number 11
So What Jobs are the Worst for Substance Use Disorder?
The big thing here is we must acknowledge that there are variables like age and gender that actually will make a big difference as to which jobs are ‘worse for substance use disorder’, while also recognizing the issue of substance use and addiction is not one size fits all. It is a different story for every individual. There is a formula that takes environment into account, but that formula is not the same for everyone.
A young woman working in the accommodations and food services industry might have a harder time staying off drugs than she might as a school teacher… or maybe not. Young men working in social assistance might find it a lot easier to stay off of drugs than one working in construction. It isn’t a guarantee, but it is a trend we can note.
So, does your job put you in an industry with higher rates of drinking, drug use or addiction? Are you more likely to have co-workers or employees that struggle with substance use than in another position?
With data like this we have to ask- does the job make an impact?
When we consider how central our jobs are to our everyday lives, we should take into account what kind of workplace we put ourselves in and what we have to offer. It is the same thing for those of use trying to work toward recovery. Substance use disorder recovery can be a lot of work, but it is definitely worth the livelihood you stand to gain from it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398