The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid crisis, which is receiving attention as a top public health priority. Between 1999 and 2014, drug overdose deaths almost tripled, and in 2015, more than 60% of all drug overdose deaths involved an opioid (Rudd, Seth, David, & Scholl, 2016). A recent New York Times article estimated that drug overdose deaths rose 19% from 2015 to 2016, possibly the largest annual jump in overdose deaths in U.S. history (Katz, 2017). Designing effective strategies to curb this problem requires that we understand how it fits into the broader context of substance use behaviors. Because research studies tell us that most individuals with opioid use disorder engage in other substance use, comprehensive and long-term addiction treatment must be provided. Moreover, because of the high degree of overlap between nonmedical prescription drug use and the use of alcohol and other drugs, resources and efforts directed toward preventing risky substance use at its earliest stages, especially among youth, will help curb the opioid overdose epidemic at its roots. Finally, improvements are needed with respect to real-time surveillance of opioid overdose deaths and the evaluation of programs and policies that are put in place to combat this epidemic.


Recovery is an amazing journey.  It’s not about “not using”; folks use to “feel better”, which implies that they don’t feel good without using.   Recovery enables folks to feel better without the need to use!  The drawback is that this is also a spiritual illness.

The 3rd Step of AA; “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives our to the care of God as we understood Him. … So the first word that needs to be understood is the word DECISION, which is defined as “making up one’s own mind.”

This is the MIRACLE of recovery.  We can’t surrender ourselves “just a bit” like an a la carte menu! It’s all or nothing to be given that miracle!

Dr. Raymond Oenbrink
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