Drug Addiction: Opioids
“The current opioid epidemic is the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015.” (Bosman, 2017) The opioid addiction is apparent amongst all 50 states in the United States and its deaths have come to surpass those of car accidents. My article, taken from the New York Times, entitled “Inside A Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at American’s Drug Opioid Crisis” introduces you to seven individuals from all across the United States, that have struggled with this drug addiction.
Above is a brief description of one of the seven individuals.
This is a topic that hits close to home for me, seeing as my good friend as well as college roommate struggled with a heroin addiction herself after her own brother died of an overdose. She is now two years out of rehab and completely clean, whilst her mom is an advocate in Long Island, New York for Narcan, a spray used as an emergency treatment for an overdose.
One way that the arts can address drug addiction is the fact that it can be used as a distraction. The arts can be used to take patients minds off of their current medical state and into their own creative world. This transition can occur using the Four Bridges, as discussed in Chapter Four of The Arts & Health. These Four Bridges start from the formation of a relationship and transitions slowly to being able to exploring one’s own creative process. At the end, the patient will be able to achieve closure, which is “the transition from the creative back to a focus on the present”. (Sonke, 2007) Throughout this time spent exploring the arts, a patient suffering from drug addiction can center their focus and attention on something other than their own sickness.
It has been shown through studies that music can reduce the craving for drug use as well. “Twenty-four individuals experiencing drug addiction were randomly assigned to one of the three study groups, namely systematic desensitization (SD) combined with listening to New Age meditation music improvised live on Tibetan bowls (IMT), systematic desensitization combined with listening to relaxing New Age music recorded in individual MP3 devices (NIMT), or a control group that received no additional therapeutic intervention (CTR).” (Elsevier Ltd., 2016)
Above is a chart from the article showing the correlation between drug and alcohol use and music.
*Full article has been attached to my Health Issues #1 Post*
An Artist in Residence can work hand in hand with a healthcare professional to not diagnose, but aid in the assistance or contribute to the healing of patients struggling with drug abuse.