Kanye is back.
I'm sure you already knew that. Along with a slew of Twitter tirades and new music, we finally found out why Kanye had gone dark a little over a year ago: the "sunken place".
The descent was nominally caused by so much media pressure on every aspect of his life, partially leading him to get liposuction. Within a few days, by his account, he was hooked on pain pills. He was originally taking two a day and then was quickly up to seven. What got to him though was when his dealer told him that what he was giving his is used to "kill genius". That shook him. And two days later, he was hospitalized under the pretense of "exhaustion".
At the surface, this is a perfect lesson that opioid addiction knows no boundaries. It can happen to anyone. But if we dig a little deeper, this also gives us a few clues on why it is so universal, and it should not be surprising at all.
1. Opioid addiction is still too stigmatized
Addiction knows no creed. This should be a lesson in understanding that addiction is not a weakness of will. Of course, there are some extremely strong-willed individuals that are able to break out of it, but just because some can succeed, that does not mean that others are failures.
2. Opioids are too accessible
Why was it so easy for Kanye to up his dosage just because he wanted to? I understand that he has immense status so that the people around him will find what he wants, but it is just casually known that he could obtain controlled substances whenever he wanted. And that is what gets me when we talk about the causes of the epidemic. If these are supposed to be controlled substances, shouldn't there be a control? Why was I personally given 50 Oxycodone 5mg after surgery when I used a total of 4? And if it is to make sure that all patients are accounted for, what about a system of accountability?
3. We need to have support networks
Some of the people that were around Kanye in the past year noticed his behavior but did nothing about it. The individuals that really would have made a difference like his wife were mainly in the dark and had to deal with the symptoms rather than the root cause. We all need to make sure that the path to recovery is flanked by the right people and that those crucial individuals are involved. In the end, it is a human solution that will solve this chemical problem.