Human Trafficking and the Opioid Epidemic
The past year saw a surge in reports on fatal over-doses and rising addiction rates in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse cites that every day, 90 Americans over-dose on opioids, which includes substances such as pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentayl.
Trafficked persons are not immune from this epidemic, but instead opioids are often a part of the manipulation and exploitation of trafficking. An added obstacle is lack of addiction treatment services available.
Three articles and book chapters that investigated the intersection between trafficking and addiction are provided below:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families interviewed Dr. Hanni Stoklosa on opioid abuse and trafficked persons. Click here for the interview.
Glamour magazine published an 11 part series on women and opioid use, including a section on sex trafficking for opioids. The article provides stories of those lost to addiction and those who have survived, click here for the article.
PATH's very own Dr. Titchen her clinical experience with "Case of a Girl with Chronic Abdominal Pain, Frequent Emergency Room Visits, and Opioid Abuse" which was published in Adolescent Gynecology: A Clinical Casebook.
Our Political Environment
For many political advocates, 2017 was a year of calling and writing to our congressmen and women. There were heated debates and unexpected votes on the healthcare bill. One topic that anti-trafficking advocates were concerned about were the effects that cutting medicaid would have on providing care and services for trafficked persons.
Survivor centered articles, such as this one, demonstrate how difficult recovering from trafficking health consequences can be with limited access to resources and care.
Leaders at HEAL Trafficking wrote to members of congress, with provider testimony to express how important medicaid is to providing medical treatment to trafficked persons. Read the letter here.