One topic that's worthy of discussion is the number of lives ended by the opioid epidemic. In many circumstances, people become addicted to these drugs by improperly using painkillers prescribed by their doctors. As the body builds a tolerance, more of the drug is needed to produce the desired effect. If too many opioids are taken, death can follow due to cardiac or respiratory failure. In many circumstances, this is accidental by people who do not regard themselves as drug users. Some people also abuse alcohol in addition to opioids; this is often a fatal combination. Young people often feel invincible, but they do not realize that quitting opioid painkillers is one of the hardest addictions to break.
Another topic for consideration are the livelihoods and families ruined by the use of opioids. The need for the drug is so strong that it overrides responsibilities—this can lead to a neglect of work and family duties. Since the drugs are readily prescribed, they can be stolen and dealt relatively easily—many people have had their lives ruined through a drug-related conviction. People have been fired or denied employment due to positive drug tests. Children are also affected by the opioid epidemic as parents who are using drugs often neglect children. Mothers who use drugs also impact their unborn children adversely.