By Alex Solari, Staff Writer
Boston Medical Center received a $25 million gift this March, which is the highest donation that they have received to date.
The center plans to use this money to help them launch a new opioid center. The name of this new center will be “Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine,” named after the billionaire investor John Grayken and his wife, Eilene, who donated the money.
With addiction, there always seems to be some sort of controversy, and this is no exception. Some are concerned that this money could have been better spent on illnesses like cancer, AIDS, and MS.
Although it is a well-known fact that addiction is a disease, in which the affected person cannot control their dependency, it is sometimes difficult to view it as an illness rather than a choice.
As someone who has addiction in their immediate family, I can relate to this thought process, and truthfully, I sometimes feel this way as well.
It is difficult to trust someone with an addiction. Addicts often steal, lie, and do just about anything to satisfy their addiction.
This can look to a friend or loved one as the person changing into a horrible human being.
We often do not realize that addiction is controlling the person and causing the person to do things they would never do otherwise.
If you cannot trust an addicted person, you can easily lose sympathy for them. You start to see them not as a person with feelings, but a monster who has lost all emotion and regard for others.
When looking at addiction, we must take ourselves out of the equation and cut all ties with our emotions in order to solve this problem efficiently.
Logically, we know that addicts are not monsters, but simply people who are controlled by their dependency.
By holding our emotions at bay, we can start to find solutions to this massive problem, which is where the new opioid center comes in.
Although some would argue that the $25 million is not being spent properly, addiction is an epidemic that is becoming worse and worse. If Massachusetts does not do something to actively stop addiction, this problem will continue to spiral out of control.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, around 2000 people died in 2016 of an opioid-related death. The number of opioid deaths drastically increases each year, with about 600 deaths in 2011, 700 in 2012, 900 in 2013, 1400 in 2014, and 1750 in 2015.
According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Medical Center serves more low-income patients than any other medical facility in New England.
Dual Diagnosis, which is a treatment facility for substance abuse and
mental illness, states that substance abuse is more prevalent with families living in poverty, and that those in poverty have more trouble recovering from their addiction. According to their site, “someone who makes less than $20,000 annually is about one-third less likely to recover from a cocaine addiction than someone who makes over $70,000.”
This connection between poverty and substance abuse shows the dire need for a new, highly advanced opioid center from a medical center that serves low-income patients.
John and Eilene Grayken are passionate about this new opioid center, and feel that this donation could potentially inspire other wealthy people to step up and donate to the cause as well.
According to Eilene, “I don’t want to go into details, but it’s something that our immediate family and extended family have had experience of,” which explains the couple’s commitment to the cause, and shows the way addiction affects even the richest people.
Although it can be difficult to take ourselves away from emotion, we must realize that addiction is not a choice, but a battle the addicted face every day.
Boston Medical Center made a smart choice in using the $25 million gift towards an opioid center, and hopefully this center can lower the number of opioid deaths in Massachusetts once and for all.