Prescription drug abuse surged 400 percent in past decade – CSMonitor.com

Check out this unsettling yet unsurprising story from the Christian Science Monitor:

Prescription drug abuse is not just on the rise – it has become a national crisis, according to a just-released White House study detailing a 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers between 1998 and 2008.

The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second-most prevalent form of illicit drug use in America….

The abuse of these strong drugs is an indication of a much more widespread cultural problem, says addiction specialist Clare Kavin of The Waismann Method, a treatment center for opiate dependency….

“We are in a culture of immediate gratification and nobody will put up with even the slightest discomfort anymore,” she says.

via Prescription drug abuse surged 400 percent in past decade – CSMonitor.com.

The culture of immediate gratification is a culture that has lost its grounding in a Transcendent Source, in a Higher Power. And who would blame us: pain hurts; gratification is fun; therefore, avoid pain and gratify oneself whenever possible.

The problem is, we’re supposed to be adults who know better. True religion, of whatever stripe, helps us become mature people who can deal with suffering in life-affirming ways– ways that include, among other things, tears and grief, anger and anguish. In other words, true religion helps us be honest– even when honesty hurts.

It goes without saying that none of this is a criticism of palliative care, or of medically necessary pain management: both are mercies for which we can be thankful. Neither, further, is this a criticism of individual prescription drug abusers, whose pain I wouldn’t try to imagine. Compassion, not scorn, is the proper response to these people.

The criticism is of our culture: the culture of instant gratification, which doesn’t give us much help as we try to make our way through suffering, loss, and pain.

Religion should teach us that, inevitably, there is a time in an authentic human life for surrender.

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2 thoughts on “Prescription drug abuse surged 400 percent in past decade – CSMonitor.com

  1. Thankfully, I do not relate to the issue of prescription addiction. However, I do relate to the instant gratification. Lately I have been on a journey that involved being patient and having moments of acting like my three year old when she doesn’t get what she wants. During this time I have turned to my Higher Power quite often pleading with Him to give me what I want, to give me patience, and when that didn’t work, to just giving in and saying, I’m going where you lead me. It has been difficult, but I have more trust in His plan for me.

    • You speak the truth about what the struggle to be patient and present is like. We all fall short. I believe the culture we live in, also, makes what is already difficult, even harder. And I also think you hit the truth, that at some point the only way forward is to surrender to a trustworthy Higher Power. “Surrender” in that sense is not to give up, but to get out of the way.

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