The US political left is the biggest hypocritical empathy whore on the planet. I'll get to this point later. In the meantime, this opioid "crisis" is not new to the human race. Yes, there are social changes needed to combat drug-abuse but not like you think.
Particularly the 17th & 18th century Native American population which had 5 times alcohol-related mortality rates as European Americans . . . coincided with native Americans first being introduced to distilled spirits (highly concentrated drinks). Prior to this time, native Americans had their own alcoholic drinks but were not in high concentrations of alcohol. Native Americans had not invented a distillation process yet . . . much less the wheel.
The reasons why native Americans were more susceptible to these distilled drinks was due to a number of factors that are quite similar to what we see today in the opioid epidemic:
1) Some DNA profiles are more susceptible to certain additive chemicals. It takes time to for a population to acquire resistance to addictive chemicals just as the Europeans did with distilled spirits before invading North America.
2) Cultural resistance to drugs and alcohol requires time and experience. The native Americans had almost zero cultural resistance to distilled spirits. We see this today in our own culture as new, cheap, addictive drugs are being introduced every decade and we have no effective means (apart from home-schooling) to prevent kids from being exposed or providing them moral fencing.
Hell, even doctors are way behind the curve. Only in recent time have doctors scaled back pain-prescriptions to kids because of the dangers. Only recently!
Fighting the drug war with empathy is a loser's game. If you want to get ahead of the fight against the problem, you need to look at three institutions in American society that promote flagrant drug use. Changes to our DNA are further down the road . . . eventually.
1) Arts and entertainment industry
2) Medical industry
3) K12 government institutions
These are liberal/progressive controlled industries that need to be turned upside down. They are drug infested shit-holes promoting drug use to the most vulnerable. These are the cultural changes that are needed to create a resistance to drug abuse. Adding more laws is just stupid.
The question is: how much do you really care about fixing this problem? Most Americans really don't give a shit if it means giving up their pop-culture, quick pain prescriptions, and government day-care.
You have been conditioned on one hand to shed salty and meaningless tears for those who have succumbed to drug abuse, and on the other hand, the vile and despicable cult-left would raise up the very institutions which promote drug abuse. Fuck you hypocrites.