To the editor
The opiate crisis is continuing to get worse in the United States and is now being considered a “syndemic,” after graduating from being an epidemic. A syndemic is when 2 or 3 other epidemics start playing off of each other.
Right now, besides the opiate epidemic, we also have the benzodiazepine epidemic and the methamphetamine epidemic as well. What’s happening is that all three epidemics are fueling each other.
The opioid crisis has been around for quite some time, as well has the benzodiazepine problem, and the methamphetamine problem has recently reappeared in the last few years. The opioid epidemic came first and can be said to have spun the other problems alongside it.
What we have happening now is that these three problems have created major increases in new HIV infections, Hepatitis C infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and infectious endocarditis. I knew that if we didn’t really step up and get a handle on this problem, it was going to get worse, and it has. The opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands upon thousands of lives has now grown into a different, scarier monster.