Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content
AFP/Getty Images

Treatment programs the best way to fight opioid crisis

Profile image for Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial
Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

President Donald Trump has declared the opioid crisis "a public health emergency."

The opioid epidemic, a dark corner of America's drug problem, is a confusing mess. It's a medical problem involving serious policy issues surrounding pain management. It's a law enforcement problem because it involves heroin and illegal trafficking of other addictive opioids.

We have no special knowledge or expertise on these complex issues. Like most of our readers, we watch events unfold and wonder how we got to a place where millions of Americans -- criminals and upright citizens -- got addicted to heroin and pharmaceutical opioid painkillers.

We are among those wondering what role the international pharmaceutical industry should play in finding solutions to combat the drugging of America.

Heroin addicts trying to get clean have been using opioids such as methadone and suboxone as part of their treatment regime since the 1950s. To control their cravings, they go to a methadone clinic and get a prescription for another opioid manufactured by drug companies.

We are not sure this makes a lot of sense unless you work for, or invest in, drug companies. Would doctors suggest that alcoholics take a shot of Jack Daniels every afternoon as part of the drying-out process? Probably not.

Instead, President Trump and his team should focus on treatment programs that involve abstinence (no methadone or suboxone), work, exercise, 12-step programs and spiritual study.