Pubdate: Tue, 05 Apr 2016
Source: Buffalo News (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The Buffalo News
Author: Cassandra Moss


This letter was intended as a response to the Feb. 9 News article 
about 23 people dying from opiate abuse in 11 days. Shortly after 
taking pen to paper, news surrounding and involving the opioid 
epidemic became a daily topic in the media. I commend The News for 
being a leader in exposing this epidemic, and devoting the time and 
attention that the issue so desperately needs.

How addiction is viewed plays largely in how successful we will be at 
overcoming this epidemic. There is a stigma attached to addicts, even 
to those who obtain treatment. While we may be slowly moving away 
from our "shaming and blaming" of people who suffer from addiction, 
public views are not changing fast enough. We must remember that 
addiction is a disease, affecting people of all races, socioeconomic 
status and geographic locations.

In 2015, an alarming number of people  264  died as a result of 
opiate overdoses, up from 128 deaths in 2014. What will the numbers 
climb to for 2016?

The damage caused by this epidemic is irreparable. We must rise above 
partisanship and find a workable solution to the single greatest 
threat we face as a nation. Let's make addiction treatment available 
immediately. It will take entire communities, the state and the 
nation working together to end this epidemic. No one can be a 
bystander any longer.

For information on opiate addiction prevention, treatment and 
recovery, please visit, and

Cassandra Moss

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