Stephanie Almada’s journey to opioid addiction began with a prescription to relieve her premenstrual symptoms and accelerated after she had a cesarean section. “The pain pills came, you know, very quickly and I had bottles at home anyway,” she said. “And then it became energy for me. It became the way I coped with life.” Today Almada, 44, is a peer recovery specialist at Wheeler Clinic in Plainville, where she helps women get off opioids. Americans are using opioids at record rates.
When it comes to alcohol advertisements, we could use an agreement similar to the one we have with Big Tobacco. But let’s put some punch behind it. Children are awash in media messages, and we keep missing opportunities to do the right thing. In 1998, then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal led the way for officials from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories to sign a Master Settlement Agreement with U.S. tobacco companies. In signing, tobacco companies agreed to stop marketing to young people, and the American Legacy Foundation was formed and began to discourage teens from smoking — often with edgy, hard-to-forget television ads.