I benefits; it’s not that simple, the

cannot agree with the statement that addicts who don’t work and who don’t
contribute to the system, should not receive Medicaid benefits; it’s not that
simple, the health care system is imperfect, and we can’t pick and choose who
we give coverage to. I take this stance because, from my point of view, I am an
international student who depends on these sorts of government subsidies and
allocations for insurance. I get insurance from New York State, even though I’m
a non-citizen and don’t work, and I’m grateful for it every day. If they start
taking away basic human rights from people whether it’s as small as checkups or
as big as constant aid to addicts, you’re taking away the people’s fundamental
rights to health and who knows where the stripping of health care will end if
we chose to do so.

to a poll taken into account by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health,
21.5 million adults, aged 12 and older, in the United States battled a
substance use disorder in 2014; and according to a report made by the Office of
National Drug Control Policy, drug abuse and addiction cost America close to
$200 billion in healthcare, criminal justice, legal, and lost workplace
production/participation costs in 2016.

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major thing that set the last decade of the 20th century apart was the descent
into the mishandling of painkillers, which prompted a cataclysmic boost in
addicts, deadly overdoses and subsequently to the communities feeling its
strong adverse effects. The tale of the painkiller pestilence can be traced
back to one intense, profoundly addictive medication and its ferociously
aspiring producer. In the mid-1990’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
approved an opioid analgesic called “OxyContin,” which flew into the market in
mid-1996; Upon its arrival, Oxycotin counted for almost fifty million dollars
in sales for its producer, a pharmaceutical company called “Purdue Pharma.” By
the next millennium it would account for almost over one billion dollars in
sales, an enormous increase for only four years; and now up to three billion
dollars, but by this time though, according to the FDA, this drug was estimated
to cover about 30 percent of the painkiller market. This meant that Purdue
Pharma, a single family-owned pharmaceutical company, was controlling a third
of the entire United States market for pain pills. Companies like these who
have high stakes in the pharmaceutical industry, tend to not seem to care whether
their product is being sold at exponential rates as long as its being sold;
knowing its addictive properties, too often, their primary concern is their
personal benefit and not the wellbeing of the consumer.

read up on this, I thought immediately back to my friend Jermaine, a
twenty-year-old Westchester Community College student, who I met in eighth
grade as a student at A.B Davis middle school when I lived in Mount Vernon;
we’d kept in touch over the last six years, and I remember him as the person
who’d first introduced me to marijuana; he was the root of all my old drug
tendencies. After I moved to Mali, we kept in contact through Facebook, and
from what he tells me, he now volunteers, talking to middle schoolers and high
schoolers, considered to be in danger, about his past drug use and his
mistakes, performing spoken word poetry, because he feels he was part of the
problem that damaged the community he lives in. He tells me he remembers the
first time he ever touched a drug being when he was twelve, smoking weed with
his grandmother when she came to visit him over the summer, and he’d been
experimenting ever since. He said when he started hanging out with his current
group of friends, things started getting worse, he felt pressured, eventually starting
to take “harder” drugs like PCP and cocaine. He told me his addiction with
Xanax started off slowly, he had first tried it at a party with friends and it
gradually but speedily turned into a tab or two a day habit because it was so
easy to get and so addictive.  He told me
that during this time, to keep up his habit, he’d steal from his mother, houses
he’d go to for parties, and random stores, later reselling the items, along
with this he also added that he’d have sex with random men he’d meet off of “Grindr,”
so they’d send him money. Every dime of what he made was then funneled into
drugs and fruits. Jermaine described most of his high school experience as
being a ghost in a shell, sleeping away one of the most crucial periods of his
life. He knew that things were getting worse when he found himself liking the
high way too much, waking up excited for his next hit, and when he started
fighting random people and ended up spending nights in jail on multiple
occasions, but his lifestyle hadn’t changed because he didn’t view himself as
having hit rock bottom or having a real problem, he saw himself as still
functioning. He told me his breaking point was when he woke up in the hospital
after his drugs had been laced; he opened his eyes after a night of bingeing,
with his mother by his side, crying. Leaning off of insurance like Medicaid,
she was able to put him into an intense rehab program immediately; because of
this help, he was able to fend off his drug cravings and reintegrate into

my eyes, addiction is a lingering and progressive ailment; one that has many
complicated ramifications for addicts, and their friends and family equally;
it’s difficult for non-addicts to completely fathom the damaging and expending
vicious cycle it tends to become. Most of the time, people who have never
struggled with addiction come to the conclusion that individuals who are
dependent on opioids or any other type of addictive substance just have loose
morals, when in truth they have an issue that requires treatment, much the same
as some other chronic medicinal disorder. Even though I may not pay the taxes
that go towards paying off the medical needs that come with addiction, I
sympathize with addicts. I understand that the abuse of prescription
painkillers, drugs, and other opioids has skyrocketed in the past decade and
according to the Centers for Disease Control, over ninety Americans die every
day from drug overdoses, killing more people each year than gunshot wounds or
car accidents; and that a lot of addictions to painkillers are most likely not
their faults due to false labelling of the merchandise, that causes them to
become dependent (i.e. Perdue Pharma claiming that you only need one OxyContin
per twelve hours when in reality the effects of the medication lasted for way
less time), but  I’m exhausted at hearing
the rants of ‘taxpaying Americans’ who cannot understand that the addicts are
unable to think of anything else but the craving and cannot help themselves
when it comes to these things. Also, knowing that the US consumes more than 80
percent of the global opioid pill production even though it has less than 5
percent of the world’s population, we must ask ourselves why that is? Or why no
other country seems to be suffering from such an epidemic. How do we fix this
issue knowing that, the US health system is operated as a business, not a
service, giving ample power to pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance
companies, and medical workers to influence policy and practices.

 We cannot allow the system to give up on those
who really need help simply because others choose to abuse of their privileges
that are allowed to them and because taxpayers find it unfair to have to put
their earnings into programs that help fund the rehabilitation of the sick.
Rather we must come together at the stem of the problem and figure out what can
be done to prevent this at the root.

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