2018 is quickly winding down and it won't be long before people start planning their New Year's Eve celebrations. With each new year of course always brings New Year's resolutions. Making a point to assess positive changes in your life that need to be made is never a bad thing, presuming you put some effort in to make those changes happen. That's easier said than done, however, and many of us (author raises hand) are guilty of not following through on our personal resolutions list.
Perhaps now more than ever, it's time for the United States to set some resolutions for 2019 and actually make them happen. You don't have to be a news junkie to realize that the country is facing a boatload of problems that aren't going to just magically fizzle away on their own.
So where's the country to begin with its list of New Year's resolutions?
Well, how about simply starting with health. That's certainly a pretty big umbrella and there's no shortage of issues underneath it that need to be addressed. The United States has an opioid crisis that's costing the country billions of dollars and ripping families apart. The American Psychiatric Association reported that one in three people know somebody with an opioid problem. That should be insanely terrifying to every American. Fortunately, there are efforts underway to fight the problem from states opening more methadone clinics to law enforcement rethinking how they attack the illegal sale of opioids. It's going to be an uphill battle, but it's one where winning is the only option.
Naturally, the opioid crisis is linked to our country's broken healthcare system. More people are dealing with chronic pain and illness than ever before and big pharma is leading us down a dangerous path. Insurance costs are rising and those who can't pay have either crippling medical bills or simply go without needed care and face endless days of suffering or possible death. There's hope that Congress will find a bipartisan solution with Democrats now having control of the house, but it will likely be months before we seen any signs of progress.
While the list of health issues that America needs to resolve could go on, the ever-growing problem of obesity can't be ignored. Losing weight is always at the top of New Year's resolutions lists, yet the country seems to be sliding back two steps for every one step forward. Obesity is the root cause of some of our most widespread health issues and we're passing it down from one generation to the next. Health experts estimate that three quarters of adults are obese or overweight and the problem is putting even i nfants at a disadvantage. 2019 needs to be the year that we collectively slap the Big Gulp out of our hands and start walking a more.
Health problems might be at the top of our nations' New Year's resolutions list, however, there's a plethora of other issues that we must make headway with in 2019. It's been just over a week since the mass shooting at the Borderline Grill in Thousand Oaks, California and not even a month since a madman gunned down innocents at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. #EnoughisEnough hashtags have been floating around for years, yet the issue of rising gun violence remains.
A recent eye-opening piece by two emergency room physicians in Scientific American expertly highlights that right now we as a nation have a target on our back.
[blockquote]"Indeed, every day, more than 100 people across the United States die from a firearm injury. Two thirds of these deaths are suicides by firearm. Nine each day happen to children. Fifty victims each month are women who are felled by domestic violence with firearms."[/blockquote]
It can't just be about addressing gun laws or prioritizing mental health (there's that health umbrella again) but must entail a combination of both. Shouldn't 2019 be the year that the politicians in Washington make some real change happen?
Thankfully, solving the problems of gun violence, opioid addiction, and obesity are issues within our grasp -- if we're willing to hold politicians, ourselves, and our neighbors accountable. None of these issues will be met with overnight solutions, but through diligent behavior at home and in our communities, maybe we can make our country's list of New Year's resolutions for 2020 at little bit shorter.