New Study Blames Opioid Crisis on Pill-Sharing Between Family and Friends
Addiction treatment expert disagrees with these findings and identifies the real culprit behind this public health crisis
A new study from researchers at Penn State University has found that opiate addiction most commonly begins when a trusted friend or family member shares a pill with their loved one.
The researchers say the study is important because: “When you talk to the average person on the street, they think it’s all about big pharma and that doctors are overprescribing. … Our findings show that the two top common sources for getting opioids are friends or family.”
However, addiction treatment expert Koorosh Rassekh disagrees with this take.
“The reason that the people have these opiates to give to their friends and family is directly because of big pharma and doctors handing out these prescriptions too liberally,” says Rassekh, who is the founder of the mental health and addiction treatment facility Evo Health and Wellness in Venice, Calif.
Rasskeh says that the opioid crisis in this country (in which Americans are now more likely to die of drug overdoses than they are to die of car crashes, gun violence, and AIDS) is a public health issue that did not originate at the hands of the average American.
“The very reason why people feel comfortable sharing their medications with loved ones is that they view the drug as a quick, reliable fix that comes from a doctor. Ergo, it must be safe,” continues Rasskeh. “They are sharing these pills not out of malice but out of concern and a desire to help their friend or relative feel better. They do this because they haven’t been educated and properly warned by the medical community about the risk of these prescriptions. They do this because the pharmaceutical company convinced the medical community that these drugs were safe and non habit-forming, and now with all evidence to the contrary, we are still seeing the pharmaceutical company developing these wildly powerful drugs.”
Rassekh points to the fact that the FDA just approved a new medication called Dsuvia which is 10 times stronger than fentanyl. While the addiction treatment expert says that the medication is only approved for hospital settings, he points out that it won't be long before the powerful medication finds its way out the back door and into our streets and homes. In addition, it could also end up in pain management clinics and other hospital settings, where it could be wrongly prescribed and create thousands of new addictions.
"Rather than making stronger and stronger opioids, we need to ask ourselves why so many people have built up a tolerance to the existing opioids that we have," says Rassekh. “Is our pain getting worse? Or is our drug dependence getting worse?”
The addiction treatment expert concludes, “I don’t see that this new study from Penn State passes the buck from the doctor to the patient whatsoever. We are not getting a ‘friends and family’ introduction to opiates, we are being given a fast pass to addiction straight from the medical community itself. It’s time we place the blame where it belongs and prioritize public health before profit.”
For more on this topic or to speak to Koorosh Rassekh, please contact me.
ABOUT KOOROSH RASSEKH, MMFT AND EVO HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Having confronted addiction in his own life, Koorosh Rassekh, MMFT founded Evo Health and Wellness with the vision to break the stigma around mental health and create a world of healthier people, families, and communities. Evo Health and Wellness is a mental health and wellness center in Venice, California that specializes in addiction treatment. Evo's intensive alternative treatment program is designed to offer the highest level of individualized care. Evo’s evidence-based model draws from the latest research and thinking on driving causes and solutions to mental health issues.
As a trained therapist, Koorosh integrates a humanistic approach and mindfulness into his therapy and coaching work. At the Matrix Institute on Addictions, Koorosh specialized in working with young adults dealing with drugs, alcohol, and addiction issues. As Director of Mindfulness at Alternatives Behavioral Health, he helped develop a program to support clients to successfully renegotiate their relationship to substances or problematic behaviors. Koorosh holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California (USC).
He has undergone extensive training in multiple therapeutic approaches, including: Assertive Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA), Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Motivational Interviewing, and numerous meditation and mindfulness techniques.