Opinion: Community networks might help solve opioid epidemic

When it comes to opioids, the United States and nations around the world are well past the crisis point. Our jails are filled, rehab centers are overwhelmed, families are being destroyed and lives are being lost.

The standard response to drug problems in communities worldwide is to spend more on medical care and law enforcement. But we’ve done nothing but create pipelines to already exhausted prisons and hospitals.

The total economic cost of prescription opioid misuse alone is more than $75 billion per year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment and crime. And opioids are just one component of the mammoth drug problem facing the nation.

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