The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from opiate overdoses. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be morally flawed and lacking willpower. This shaped our response to drug use, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment. Discoveries about the brain changed our understanding of drug use, allowing us to respond effectively to the problem. As a result of research, we know that addiction is a medical disorder that affects the brain and changes behavior. On March 29th, 2017 President Trump declared the Opiate Epidemic a national public health emergency and signed an executive order establishing the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
As a result of this, the Wauwatosa Health Department created an Opioid and Prescription Drug Education and Resource Guide. The guide is a resource for families to learn more about substance use, prevent misuse, and provide local resources for mental health and substance use treatment. The information guide includes information about opioids and prescription drugs.