It seems like addictions are in the news these days a lot. The statistics around Opioids alone are startling. I don't think I know anyone addicted to them but it seems like statistically we all probably do. I know a few people that took OxyContin after surgery and luckily they didn't get addicted.
In terms of what you can you
1) If they are prescribed to you I'd ask if there is an alternative
2) Michael Botticelli former Director of the USA's National Drug Control Policy recommends talking about it more. If you need help, ask for it, if someone asks for help don't think less of them, provide them help like you would to someone with a broken leg, addiction is a disease.
3) Change the words you use:
Excerpt from Times Colonist article by Sarah Petrescu
Some of the suggestions are using terms such as “person with a cocaine-use disorder” instead of “cocaine user” or “addict.” Others include referring to a person having an “addictive disease” or “substance-use disorder” rather saying they are a drug “abuser” or “junkie.”
Counterintuitive things you should know:
1) Our whole mental model of what causes additions is not quite right, check out the first video below. I put it at the top because out of all of these because our mental model dictates so much of this problem, and most of us are walking around with on that's not backed up by science. By knowing this we can see there are more factors to addiction than just the drugs, and how big a factor the stigma around addiction can compound the problem. Link to the article where I found it.
2) Criminalizing drugs has not been as effective as decriminalizing them. Portugal is the first country I heard of that decriminalized all drugs put their resources into helping and they've seen an amazing turn around. Check out the clip from Michael Moore's documentary
Here is Michael's TED Talk - Addiction is a Disease
Here is John Oliver's take on Opioids
And here is a terrifying article outlining the plans to spread the epidemic beyond North America to the rest of the world. This reminds me of Stephen Hawking's quote that "we should be more afraid of capitalism than robots". I'm not against capitalism, just based on my cursory look into this it seems like a huge risk of human suffering is being taken for the sake of making money.
OxyContin Goes Global - We're Only Just Getting Started
I don't know what to do to stop this, any suggestions?