Calling the current opioid crisis a health crisis is a winning strategy on the part of those make a buck off the backs of suffering individuals.
Just follow the money.
As for the reasons individuals struggle with addiction, they're not as varied as one might suppose. This was the TED talk author's main point. And it was a good point, in my view. I see the truth of it every day in my work.
Every addict (and former addict) has horror stories to tell, but the real horror resides in how we, as a society, have made choices--social, political, and moral--that have led to the loss of our sense of connectedness to each other and to the rise and pervasiveness of loneliness. This also underpins the current popularity (if one can call it that) of mood and anxiety disorders. And Big Pharma, backed by Big Politics, is making a killing. Literally.
Yes, there are many individual tragedies (psychological or emotional trauma is inherently personal), but the solution doesn't reside in making the lives of those who suffer even more tragic by punishing them for seeking relief through one of the very few means on offer in this particular society.
Moral panic, another outcome of fires stoked by the powers that be that have much to gain from hiding in the smoke, clouds our view and make it hard to see our way to sunnier climes.
Combat disaffiliation with social connection. Put your phone down, look up into the eyes of the familiar stranger sitting or standing in front of you and smile.
Combat spiritual anemia with a firm rootedness in whatever transcendent narrative gives meaning to your lives. Let your roots go deep but let your branches touch the sky.
Combat social despair by getting involved in your community for the betterment of the lives of those who also live within it. Anomie loves to keep empowered individuals at bay.
Combat emotional pain through the numbing power of drug addiction if you must, but know that there are structures in place that have a vested interest in seeing you continue to suffer. One favourite strategy is to make you believe this is only about your neurotransmitters and synaptic vesicles and receptor sites. It isn't.
Above all, carry on being who you are. Eleanor Roosevelt, for one, was of the opinion that we have a moral duty to do so for only in this way would we be able to contribute what is uniquely ours to contribute to the world around us.