Politics & Policy

To Break the Opioid Crisis, Repair the Family

(Photo: Hikrcn/Dreamstime)
Too many Americans are dying deaths of despair, and their lack of a support system is a big part of the problem.

I want to share with you an extraordinary chart, one that shows the immense cost of loneliness, brokenness, and despair. From Scott Winship, the director of Senator Mike Lee’s invaluable Social Capital Project, here are opiate overdoses by educational level and marriage:

So yes, let’s fight opioid addiction with the same urgency we’d bring to any other public-health crisis. But how much more evidence do we need of the absolute cultural necessity of family repair? Opioid statistics are just the latest confirmation of the warning from Genesis: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”

Poverty, criminality, ignorance, and despair — these are the four horsemen of the family apocalypse, and there is no despair quite like the despair of loneliness. A lonely man or a lonely woman seeks relief, and to hear addicts tell it, there is no euphoria quite like the narcotic haze. For a time, everything is okay. For a time, they feel peace. And don’t we all seek peace?

Our political culture doesn’t talk enough about families. You can spend billions on drug-treatment centers, but which public policy will keep a husband faithful to his wife or train a fatherless son to be a husband and a dad? Moreover, if we “focus on the family,” do we not by necessity have to confront the false ideologies of radical individual autonomy, sexual experimentation, and self-actualization? Don’t we have to double-down on the faith-based institutions that all too many in our body politic seem determined to shame and suppress?

Of course addiction can strike anyone, but the data are overwhelming. Not every category of American is equally vulnerable. Though an intact family isn’t a foolproof shield against hopelessness, despair, and addiction, it’s still a shield. Do we want to combat the opioid crisis? If so, let’s start in the home. Let’s start with a mom and dad who love each other and stay together — through good times and bad. Let’s start with a culture that celebrates marriage and a community that encourages fidelity. Let’s treat addicts, yes, but let’s not forget that while there’s no way to inoculate any person against addiction, a life of faith, hope, and love is a good start.

READ MORE:

In the Opioid Crisis, Keep Your Eyes on Heroin and Fentanyl

Has Medicaid Made the Opioid Epidemic Worse?

The Opioid Crisis Should Kill the Call to Legalize Hard Drugs

Most Popular

U.S.

First, Restore Order

Doing evil in the service of a just cause does not change either side of the moral equation: Evil remains evil, and the just cause remains just — neither consideration cancels out the other or transmutes it. With riots and violence convulsing American cities after the horrifying death of George Floyd at the ... Read More
U.S.

First, Restore Order

Doing evil in the service of a just cause does not change either side of the moral equation: Evil remains evil, and the just cause remains just — neither consideration cancels out the other or transmutes it. With riots and violence convulsing American cities after the horrifying death of George Floyd at the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

No, Martin Luther King Was Not Pro-Riot

Among the more contemptible rhetorical tricks used this past weekend was the hijacking of Martin Luther King Jr. to enlist him in the cause of rioting. Celebrities, activists, leading journalistic institutions, and even the Martin Luther King Jr. Center itself are participating in a misinformation campaign by ... Read More
Politics & Policy

No, Martin Luther King Was Not Pro-Riot

Among the more contemptible rhetorical tricks used this past weekend was the hijacking of Martin Luther King Jr. to enlist him in the cause of rioting. Celebrities, activists, leading journalistic institutions, and even the Martin Luther King Jr. Center itself are participating in a misinformation campaign by ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Is It Revolution?

I knew I was tempting fate a week ago when I said that the coming nomination of Joe Biden and the COVID-19 pandemic had put America’s politics on chill during this election year. Little did I know that days later we’d be making analogies to 1968. The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman moved ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Is It Revolution?

I knew I was tempting fate a week ago when I said that the coming nomination of Joe Biden and the COVID-19 pandemic had put America’s politics on chill during this election year. Little did I know that days later we’d be making analogies to 1968. The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman moved ... Read More
PC Culture

For Looters, Looting Is Fun

One important thing to realize about looting is that it's usually enjoyable for those engaged in it, who exult in the momentary suspension of any rules. Just a couple of examples from the last couple of days (language ... Read More
PC Culture

For Looters, Looting Is Fun

One important thing to realize about looting is that it's usually enjoyable for those engaged in it, who exult in the momentary suspension of any rules. Just a couple of examples from the last couple of days (language ... Read More