In our work here in Eugene, tending to hospitalized patients with serious drug addictions, we see daughters, mothers, wives, sons, fathers, husbands. As infectious disease physicians, we regularly work with people dealing with addiction and in the struggle of their lives.
Many have lived with substance use disorder for years, if not decades. A significant proportion have wanted to stop and asked for help getting into treatment.
But accessing treatment for my patients has been difficult — and it’s only getting harder. Even if someone is wealthy enough to pay, capacity in treatment programs is far short of need. So people are put on a waiting list for weeks or sometimes months.
People in crisis can’t wait that long. Some overdose and die waiting. Others give up trying to stop using.