Climate Change: The Economics and Solutions (Re-Air)
A New Perspective on North Korea
Several weeks ago, President Trump proclaimed that he considered the opioid crisis to be “a national emergency”.

It is fast becoming a national epidemic. According to the  UN International Narcotics Control Board, Americans consume more opioids than any other country.

Left to Right: Ted Price, PhD, Ms. Lee FitzGerald, and Kevin Gilliland, PsyD

Opioid addiction killed an estimated 60,000 people in 2016, more than were killed in accidents or homicides in that same year. In 2002 deaths were estimated at 25,000. To date 2 million Americans are estimated to be addicted to opioids with 95 million Americans on pain prescription medication for acute and chronic pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to talk about this issue are:
  • Ms. Lee FitzGerald: CADC Board Registered Interventionist Level I (BRI-I), (California Association of Alcohol and Drug Counselors; BRI-board-registered interventionist), who helped start the first Narcotics Anonymous group for women in Kathmandu, Nepal
  •  Kevin Gilliland, PsyD: Executive Director of i360 which helps individuals and families overcome mental health, addiction and relationship challenges, along with phase-of-life struggles; author of Struggle Well Live Well, and
  • Ted Price, PhD: Neuro biologist, Associate Professor, School of Behavioral Science at University of Texas Dallas, Co-Founder of CERSCI, recipient of the Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain
How have so many Americans become addicted to Opioids? Over the last couple of decades the health care system, bolstered by pharmaceutical companies, has flooded the U.S. with pain killers. Big Pharma  reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Patients may get a prescription for pills they do not need in quantities that outlast the need itself.
Opioid users tend to mix the drugs with other substances, alcohol and cocaine which increase the risk of an overdose. According to the surgeon general’s 2016 report on addiction, only 10 percent of people suffering from a drug use disorder get specialty treatment. The report attributed the low rate to shortages in the supply of care, with some areas of the country lacking affordable options for treatment – which can lead to waiting periods of weeks or even months just to get help.
Ms. Fitzgerald and Dr. Gilliland tell us addicted patients need help, either through interventions and detox, yet insurance companies are not doing what they need to be doing to fund addiction care. The issues that start the addiction require time to resolve and funding is often available only short term.
The opioid epidemic is crippling communities across the United States, has spurred a public health crisis, and could kill as many as 650,000 people in the next decade. (Reference:
Opioid abuse is also hurting America’s job market “The opioid epidemic is intertwined with the story of declining prime-age participation, especially for men,” says Goldman Sachs economist David Mericle. The crisis has created “significant costs both to employers and the public sector. Use of opioids has become a key factor in why “prime age” workers, mostly men, are unable or unwilling to find work according to the Goldman Sachs (GS) report.
Are there solutions? Dr. Price used to believe that people who abused opioids suffered from a failure of will. But after a freak spinal cord injury in 2006, his views changed. Opioid abuse “comes out of a desire that people have to make pain go away,” he said. “And anybody that’s ever had pain for any period of time knows what that feels like. You want it to go away.”
Dr. Price researches chronic pain and helped start a local company, CerSci Therapeutics, headquartered at UT-Dallas’ Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that aims to develop drugs to alleviate pain without the addictive properties of opioids.
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Certified Speaker, Coach, Consultant
Transforming Corporate Culture…
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2407 – 09.2017

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Perspectives Matter is a McCuistion Program and as part of a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization does not receive any pledge dollars, PBS funds, or government grants. The funding that has kept us on the air for 33-plus years comes from our grantors and loyal viewers. Your donation allows us to continue to hold engaging programs that provide different perspectives. To be a catalyst for change, support our TV programs. Thank you for your support and for watching.

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Climate Change: The Economics and Solutions (Re-Air)
A New Perspective on North Korea