Yes, I believe this to be true.
I think the bigger picture of our Opioid Crisis lies in the fact that humans are currently unwilling to enforce self-discipline on almost any level that pertains to even slight discomfort.
This journal may seem a little harsh but until we acknowledge the weight of the epidemic that will end up destroying our nation, harsh is the tone that needs to be set. Everyone is responsible for what is happening to our fellow Americans.
We live in a society that expects and demands comfort, and thinks preventable, chronic illness is normal. 70% of adults are overweight and obese. 1.4 Million adults develop Type 2 Diabetes every year joining the 29 Million that currently have it, as 84 million stand in the line as Pre-Diabetic. (Stats are here).
Alzheimer Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America. Recent studies are showing casual links to poor diet. In ten years we may very well consider the disease a PREVENTABLE Type 3 Diabetes. American’s are a sick and disease ridden people and the power to turn the tides lies in their own hands.
Part of the problem that keeps us from addressing our true epidemic is our voluntary blindness and denial of what is really killing MORE of us. Yes our social culture is hot to fixate on drugs like heroine, as the ultimate killer. But in reality it’s just a swift and painless death vs dragging it out for 20-40 years, being kept alive on vials of insulin at the price tag of 13k a year per person. Go ahead, do the math.
If you think the Opioid Crisis is going to bleed our country dry of monetary and public health resources before chronic disease, you had better think again.
It’s time for us to start recognizing that drug addicts are just looking for comfort the same way you do when you say “fuck it” to nutrition and eat a cupcake that you’ve told yourself you deserve because you’ve had a “hard” day. The convenience of a needle takes the place of self-discipline, the same way the couch wins and we skip the gym… for months or YEARS at a time. Same behavior pattern, same thought process, different car, but we as a society are all driving on the same road.
Woah. Yeah. I went there. Compared maybe you or someone you know to someone who does drugs.
“But me eating poorly isn’t the same as OD-ing and requiring an entire EMT squad via transport a Fire Truck to come and spritz some narcan up my nose!” Not the exact same but the difference in killing yourself in 30 minutes vs over a few decades still lends to the same result so let’s call a spade a spade. American’s are dying by their own hands, whether it be by sticking a needle in their arm or by stuffing pizza in their mouths.
The drug epidemic is a social one, the same as Type 2 and 3 Diabetes, obesity, and about six other diet-related chronic diseases. Why else would 1,419,868 American’s die of Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes every year? (That’s 27 times more than the number that die of drug overdoses, by the way.) Because we are good at developing behavioral patterns that avoid restriction, self-discipline, and discomfort. Let’s not fall into the trap of taking these epidemics as normal just because they’re so common.
What is happening to us, is not NORMAL.
And it’s preventable.
Part of the problem lies within our efforts to solve these epidemics.
America has an individualistic culture. Meaning we celebrate 1st place winners, have private property, are told we are a special snowflake, try your best, there is no other YOU in the world, right? Great, so if we all agree that mentality works and we like it…
The only way to change society then is to change yourself.
This is your wake up call. If you want to stop the epidemic, you need to start eating right and exercising.
I’m not even fucking joking right now. Stay with me, let’s talk about this more…
The current solutions for opioid users are, rehab, limitations on pain prescriptions, penalties for doctors who over prescribe pain meds, and ongoing counseling.
Meanwhile, the social narrative says “just don’t stick the needle in your arm!” or “Why won’t they JUST go to rehab?!”
I personally think it’s a beyond a little outrageous to expect a short stint in rehab will fix drug addicts, long term. If you think it comes down to a single choice of “just don’t use drugs,” let me ask you this: How many crash diets have you personally attempted and failed at?
Think about it, are you going to go to fat rehab? Are you going to be happy with the government limiting your mac and cheese consumption? Penalties for fast food companies? Support groups? Not a bad idea for any of those but meanwhile MOST Americans are fat, sick, or creating a lifestyle that will lead to that one day, and the vast majority aren’t even CONSIDERING a change in their behavior.
Meanwhile we are looking to blame needles in peoples arm as a costly expense on our nation’s bankroll. Let’s fix our priorities of what is killing us more. Once the priority is set, we can fix our health crises from the top down.
We need to learn how to develop and sustain a strong practice of personal responsibility. (Try not putting that cupcake in your mouth Susan.) Understanding you, and no one else, is responsible for your health. Not Obama-care, not a doctor, not an insulin pump, not even your own mother. You are. It starts with what you put in your mouth and how much self-discipline you practice until common for our society starts to look like something else.
If we as individuals practiced self-care that instilled discipline and restraint in our behaviors, we could collectively change our society’s current behavioral state of entitlement and irresponsibility.
A simple, not easy, but a simple practice of this must be in the form of nutritious eating and working out*. It may seem like a drastic, militant shift or expectation of people but the shift needs to be. There is no easy or quick fix “juice cleanse” to the devastating position we are in. Our current practice in regards to food and exercise isn’t “working out” for 70% of us.
The reason I encourage everyone develop a lifestyle of fitness is based on the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Focusing on our own lives and fixing the deficits within ourselves first will change our society’s culture over time to one that expects and reinforces the behavior we practice as individuals.
If everyone can relate to #metoo on Facebook for a week, then surely we can identify with the faulty eating and idle lifestyle patterns within ourselves that we contribute towards the health epidemic.
What kind of example are we setting for future generations? Are we leaving this world better than we came into it? What quality of life are we providing for ourselves? Do we contribute to our families and communities or burden it?
What you choose to eat and how you provide self-care could change the answer to these questions more than you think.
So what do you all think?
*A diet is a sustainable way of eating that doesn’t have an expiration date and has intelligent design that will best enhance your personal lifestyle and goals. How do you look, how do you feel, how are you performing are all key factors that should be considered. Diets will have restraint worked into them, after all restraint is something we practice daily (think about all the your mom jokes you refrain from at work…) Exercise should be thought of as useful tool beyond losing weight or gaining muscle. It saddens me when people only associate the use of it for those two purposes. If either of these concepts surrounding diet or exercise are new to you, I highly suggest finding someone QUALIFIED who can help you make suitable lifestyle changes and expand your insight and knowledge on both. You will not find a QUALIFIED practitioner in your comment threads on social media.