This was an interesting week at work, to say the least. Most of my time was spent analyzing the Opioid epidemic in America. While this might seem like odd work for an intern at a lobbying firm, I can assure you there was purpose behind it.
Let me step back for a second and explain what opioids are, how opioids affect the body, why opioids are commonly abused:
Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors in the brain to produce pain relief, cough suppression , and suppress diarrhea. While those are some of the intended uses, a majority of opioids are used illicitly for recreational use or to stave off withdrawal symptoms. They are commonly abused because the body quickly builds up a tolerance to opioids while also becoming physically dependent on them. As dosage goes up, physical dependence increases and withdrawal symptoms worsen. Addiction starts when when the body is physically dependant on the drug. Opioid addiction is extremely problematic because addiction occurs quickly, the physical effects of withdrawal are debilitating, heroin is cheap, and opioids are widely prescribed by physicians.
Since the late 1980’s, Americans have been prescribed a steady dose of opioids to address chronic pain and injury recovery. All types Americans have been prescribed opioids over this timeframe, so no demographic in society is left unaffected by the current epidemic.
Now that there is background, let’s explore the topic a bit more and I’ll indicate where my research comes in.
Currently, Congress is examining ways to deal with this epidemic. However, few solutions provide adequate funding for treatment or address the underlying factors that contribute to it. At the same time, biopharmaceutical companies are developing chemical solutions to reverse overdoses and treat addiction.
This is where lobbying firms come in. They connect those in need with those with means to assist those needs. In this case, those with the addiction and treatment centers are in need of funds and treatment solutions from pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government who have the necessary resources to address the crisis.
As a firm, WSW represents various treatment centers, municipalities, pharmaceutical firms that work tirelessly to address the opioid epidemic every day. Hopefully, my research and its utilization can help WSW, Congress, and all other stakeholders address this pressing problem that plagues our nation.