Two public health crises requiring sensible solutions

Last week’s tragic and senseless shooting of a surgeon and three others at a doctor’s office in Tulsa was the latest grim reminder that gun violence is a major public health crisis in this country, and that sensible law reform on firearms are essential if we are to respond correctly.

As evidence of this shooting emerges, it appears that this Tulsa tragedy was actually the confluence of two national public health crises – the gun violence crisis and the opioid addiction crisis. And if something isn’t done for both, and soon, we’ll likely see even more gruesome violence.

This attack seems personal to me. For more than 20 years, I have spent my career investing in innovations in medical technology, and time and time again this has involved working with world-class surgeons to develop new, better, and not addictive to manage pain. I have worked with many top-notch health care providers who have recognized that the rush over the past two decades to numb medical pain with highly addictive opiates has caused addiction rates to skyrocket and worrying about mental health issues. When you combine that with the absurdly simple access to firearms we have in our country — as reports indicate it was during the Tulsa shooting — it becomes a deadly cocktail that has made countless deaths.

The cycle is brutal – someone in pain uses opioids to temporarily feel better, but it quickly wears off and more and more is desired. It has a devastating impact not only on the body but also on the mind, and in many cases people who go into addiction, they will do anything, including committing shocking acts of violence, to do so. disappear, even if for a little while. .

Enough is enough. Here’s what I’d like to see done about it.

While we can finally see progress on meaningful gun control laws — something I support as a gun owner and military veteran — we also need to see serious progress in tackling gun control. epidemic of opioid addiction. Treatment for people with addiction is imperative, but it does not get to the root of the problem. We need to find ways for people to manage their pain without becoming addicted to dangerous narcotics. We will never solve the crisis without attacking the heart of addiction, namely the drugs themselves. That would be like saying body armor is the best solution to gun violence.

Pain management without opioids? I know it’s not only possible, but it’s happening right now – my companies have invested tens of millions of dollars in pain management systems that don’t involve opioids, and we’ve seen apparently it works. What we need is for the medtech industry and medical professionals to form a coalition and agree to invest our time and resources in this space, and move away from drug-based treatments. opioids. Although this is where my business is headed, we would all be much stronger if others joined us and worked side-by-side with surgeons, doctors and health care providers. We need to hear from them what they need to treat patients safely and effectively.

We’ve seen too much overwhelming addiction in America, and we’ve seen too much gun violence, and now we’ve seen what can happen when these two storms meet head-on. It would be naïve to say that we can solve both crises overnight, but we know that progress can be made.

We know that better background checks, better screening, waiting periods and the banning of certain categories of military type weapons for civilian use can save lives. It’s happened before and it worked. And I know that not only can pain be managed without addictive drugs, but the surgeons and healthcare professionals I’ve worked with prefer it. We just need more – more investment, more innovation, and more buy-in from those in the medical technology world who can truly make a difference.

This is how we prevent horrible acts like the Tulsa massacres from happening again. And this is how we can finally reverse the cycle of addiction and despair. It won’t be easy, but the necessary steps – pressuring lawmakers to do the right thing on reasonable gun control and bringing the field of medical technology together on pain management without addiction – are there to be taken.

I am fully in this fight. Do you want to join me?

Anthony G. Viscogliosi, of Manchester, is a founding partner of Viscogliosi Brothers, LLC, and the founding partner and CEO of MCRA, LLC, companies that invest in and provide regulatory advice to the automotive industry. medical technologies.

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