1) There is no leadership. It was announced a full 46 days ago, on March 27th, that Chris Christie was going to lead the so called "Opiate Task Force." Two days later there was a press release and the formal announcement was made. Since that time - Nothing. Christie has not done anything, he has no contact information in this role and the white house seems to shrug. Meanwhile, 90 Americans are going to die tonight; 8 of them in Ohio.
2) There are no metrics. There are estimates; we estimate that 90 Americans and 8 Ohioans die from overdose daily. One American every 16 minutes and one Buckeye every 3 hours. If this were a war, our generals would be considered incompetent, as would our non-commissioned officers. How can you manage anything without measuring the results of your efforts? To this very day, May 12th 2017, the most influential media outlets are using data from 2015. You would think we would have wall charts, by state, showing exactly what happens every day. How else can we determine if the $20 Billion we just spent worked or not and what we ought to try next. No one is leading, no one is measuring and tonight 90 more Americans will die along with 8 Ohioans. The death count since Christie was named Opiate Czar? 4140 Americans, 368 Buckeyes. Of course these are only estimates and only numbers - few people consider them young vibrant human lives.
3) We are operating on data that is 2 years old. Right now, any money that is spent to stop the crisis may or may not work. We won't know until the first day of 2019. You heard that right. Try to find out how many Americans overdosed in 2016. If this were a business it would fold. Even if this were a small business start-up, the management would be laughed out of the company. We the People, also known as the stakeholders in this enterprise are getting taken to the cleaners. No leadership, no metrics, two year old data, and yet 90 Americans are dying with 8 Ohioans.
4) Affected families don't want to talk about it. Heroin's greatest ally is the shame and humiliation that the families of the addicted suffer. These negative feelings provide a veil of secrecy behind which the epidemic spreads almost unabated. No one wants to talk about it; no one wants to hear about it.
5) The Big Pharma companies have too much to lose. The pharmaceutical companies helped start this problem when they deceived doctors regarding the addictive nature of OxyContin using the infamous Jick and Porter Letter. They created a pain treatment specialty within the medical profession where none existed previously. The pain treatment specialists created thousands of addicts who's lives are now dependent on the antidotes and treatment products that these same companies now produce. An entire customer lifecycle is in motion and there is great value in every live, non-recovered addict. These addicts drive substantial revenues into these companies. Removing the addicted will certainly have material impact on some of the largest companies in the industry. Meanwhile, 8 Buckeyes die with 90 Americans, day in and day out.
6) Half the population is hateful. At least half of the population considers addiction as a problem caused by and permeated by an individual's choice. Many of these same people consider death by overdose a reasonable remedy to the overall issue. Their thinking is that eventually they will all die off, and the problem will decay away. If this subset of the population refuses to help the afflicted, there will not be enough resources to eventually win the battle.
7) The people grow weary. Every night, the local news has reports of families ripped to shreds by deaths and tragedies due to these sinister drugs. Day after day after day the news drones on and the people are numb. Never, at least so far, has any leader stood up and offered the people hope. No leader has stood up and shouted out to the people that we have a plan, the plan is going to work, and this is how you will know it works. This plan will work, and you, the people, should have hope. Right now we watch the news with disgust and wonder when "someone" will do something, and if no one is going to do anything then please stop giving us this tragic news. Most people are tired, meanwhile, 90 Americans will die tonight, along with 8 Buckeyes.
6/25/17: Final Edition Heroin Herald and Overdose Observer
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