Dec. 19, 2021 – Today, addiction is more pervasive than it’s ever been. During 2020, the U.S. saw 100,000 fatal overdoses, the highest number ever recorded. On top of that, more than 13% of Americans—or 43 million people—reported starting or ramping up substance use as a way of coping during the pandemic.

This data is a tragic representation of individual and collective pain. It is an ominous reflection of a culture so distressed and hollow that citizens would rather numb themselves with quick chemical fixes than actually participate.

Yet, despite the statistics, I believe the picture is not all grim. There’s never been more awareness about addiction, and as such, it’s become more relatable than ever. A handful of bingeable television series shedding light on the opioid epidemic were just released, including “Dopesick” and “Painkiller.” And while we tend to think of individuals who are addicted as folks passed out on the street corner, more people are beginning to look at culturally sanctioned vices closer to home such as video games, digital screens, and work itself. More than 38 million people streamed Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” which pulled back the curtain on social media’s clever algorithms designed to hijack our limbic systems with outrage.


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