Oxycodone pills. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Jan. 7 editorial “Delayed action on opioids meant D.C. deaths” was not an eye-opener for me. I lost my son less than a month ago by suicide after years of opioid addiction. Services for the real support people — people such as me — need are pathetically lacking. I am in Northern Virginia, and we suffer the same dire consequences as those in the District.

There are many problems with the system and the lack of true, effective resources, but what it comes down to is that we keep trying to treat the symptom (and not doing a good job) rather than the cause. We need to prevent addiction in the first place. Something to start with is medical privacy laws. My son became addicted to oxycodone after being given multiple prescriptions by multiple doctors. Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, I actually helped him. I paid for his prescriptions. I took him to the doctor. I shopped around for doctors with him. Under HIPAA, I was not allowed to know what the doctors were giving him. I was feeding his addiction.

We all appreciate the medical privacy that HIPAA provides, but there must be a better way. All the privacy in the world does no good when you are dead.

Daniel Brooks, Herndon