• The Truth About The Opioid Epidemic | Sam Quinones | Episode 91

  • the truth about the opioid crisisThe opioid epidemic impacts families across the country regardless of race, religious beliefs and socio-economic background. But what does this mean for your family? How did it get started? Are parents adding to the problem? How can we keep our teens safe? Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler chats with Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, to understand how the opioid epidemic is impacting our teens and what parents need to do.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “This is the story of the agony we create in the search for a pain-free life.”

    High Points of Our Conversation About the Opioid Epidemic:

    learning resiliency skills to prevent addictionThe opioid epidemic is a coast-to-coast problem with narcotic pain killers. 

    People who become addicted, often through a prescription medication, eventually move to taking heroin because it’s cheaper. Many then move on to fentanyl which can be quite lethal when obtained on the street.

    This is the first drug scourge that began with doctors rather than the mafia or underworld. There are many causes and aspects to this problem. One is the misinformation fed to doctors telling them opioids were non-addictive. Another is doctors who gave in to greed and ran pill mills in order to become wealthy. 

    There is no single villain in this scenario. We, as consumers, also need to take responsibility for our piece in this problem.

    “This is the story of the agony we create in the search for a pain-free life.” Somewhere along the way our society started promoting the idea that it is unacceptable to experience any pain. This contributes to addiction.

    One of the things that struck Sam early on was the large number of people who became addicted after having wisdom teeth extracted. 

    Our society has become more isolated. This isolation leaves us vulnerable to addiction.

    Pills are prevalent in the world of athletics. These opioids play into our desires. Players want to get back into the game. Parents want to see their kids playing again. Coaches want the team to be strong.

    As the supply expanded, medical cabinets across the country held excess pills. This created an enormous black market and a huge supply for social events. The pills naturally leaked out into the high school and college scenes.

    People learned they could get a bigger high by snorting, smoking, or injecting the crushed up time-released pills. This bypasses the time release mechanism and delivers a large dose all at once. Once they get to the point of injecting it they realize it’s cheaper to use heroin.

    Be aware of signs of addiction: new friends, being sneaky, physical changes, loss of interest in previous interests, etc. 

    Start conversations with your teen about this problem. You can discuss how the opioid epidemic came into existence and allow that to open up into a more personal discussion.

    Discuss various scenarios and ask your teen how they would handle things or what they could do if they find themselves in the situation. 

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Dreamland (YA edition): The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

    Protect Your Teen from Prescription Drug Abuse – episode 4

    Taming the Social Media Monster – episode 6  

    What Every Parent Needs To Know About Kids Getting In Trouble With The Law – episode 83

    Technology And Relationships Plus Smartphone Addiction – episode 88

    Our Guest – Sam Quinones:

    Sam Quinones authorSam Quinones is a journalist, author and storyteller whose two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration made him, according to the SF Chronicle Book Review, “the most original writer on Mexico and the border.” He lives in Los Angeles.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit http://www.samquinones.com/ 




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    Photo credit: Jametlene Reskp and Road Trip with Raj