More people are dying of drug overdoses in the United States today than at any point in modern history. The overdose fatality rate surpassed 100,000 per year for the first time ever in 2021. Halfway through 2022, it appears to be rising even further (the latest numbers come out to about 300 people per day, or 12 people every hour, on average). It’s tempting to see this crisis as the unavoidable byproduct of an unprecedented moment. Breathtaking drug industry malfeasance, soaring economic inequality and a world-shaking pandemic have conspired in ways that can make these kinds of deaths seem all but inevitable, and it’s easy to imagine that such a wretched trifecta could not possibly have been anticipated, let alone prevented. But addiction itself is as enduring a part of the human experience as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is at least as common as any of those. And our failure to treat it as consistently or as rigorously is not an accident. It is a choice.