Carrie Fisher had a long and storied career in Hollywood. Born into royalty she played the iconic Princess Leia in the beloved Star Wars series. More noted was her rapier wit and clever writing. She bravely and honestly disclosed her struggles with mental illness, disclosing bipolar disorder and substance misuse. She became an advocate for both, so why is the culture shocked to learn from her autopsy there were drugs in her system?
The opioid crisis continues to rage on like a fever fever that won’t break. No amount of platitudes seem to get it under control. While “opioid task forces” and “town halls” continue to surface in communities, it’s an advanced calculus type of complexity with few answers or easy fixes.
Western medicine has made massive advancements in the last 20 years. Things that were once a death sentence no longer are. Coming of age in the 90s we all wondered who would die of AIDS in between Pearl Jam tracks. Today, managing HIV is possible, even probable. Millions are living with, not dying from, disease.
Daily 1,000 people across the US are treated in emergency rooms for opiate misuse. That doesn’t include other medications that may land someone in trouble and in need of emergency care. While we hear of the “opiate crisis” and well we should, we don’t hear much about other medications on which people can overdose.