The astonishing rise in usage and opioid-related deaths places the United States in a severe epidemic. However, unlike the 80’s and 90’s these drugs aren’t solely being dealt on the streets; instead they are also legally prescribed.
The United States only has five percent of the world’s population yet it also is home to eighty percent of the world’s opioid usage. In 1999 there were approximately 8,048 opioid-related deaths, in 2016 there were 42,249. Furthermore, the number of opioid doses prescribed in the US rose from 16,046 to 31,453 per million people per day.
During the 80’s and 90’s droves of Americans were hooked on crack that was issued by thugs. Police worked tirelessly to thwart the epidemic that was afoot, and eventually, usage and crack-related deaths dropped. However, what does America do when doctors and pharmacies are issuing the drugs?
The current crisis is thought to be the result of the over-prescription of opioids for pain relief. However, uncovering where the right blame lies is another story. While doctors are blaming patients, patients are filing lawsuits against doctors.
Furthermore, State’s are blaming drug makers such as Purdue Pharma for outlandish sales tactics which are directed at overworked and under-skilled doctors to push growing numbers of prescriptions of OxyContin at increasingly high dosages for uses ranging from generalized pain to sleeplessness.
In 2017, President Trump declared the Opioid Crisis an epidemic because of the statistics surrounding the issuance, usage, and death statistics. However, the United States is not the only country where opioids have become a problem.
Instead, several other Western countries are beginning to stoke the fire of opioid addiction. For example, in Scotland, 18% of people received at least one opioid prescription in 2012. Also, in Germany, the rates closely mirrored that which was displayed in the statistics by the United States.
Substantial evidence suggests that the opioid epidemic is the result of high-pressure sales tactics, street thugs, over-worked doctors, and geography. Incredibly, a recent study taken in England laid bare that those who live in areas associated with relative deprivation have the highest issuance of opioids. Also, the research suggested that opioid prescribing rates rose with age.
The unrealistic crisis is continuing today as thousands will receive their prescriptions to the dangerously addictive drug. Statistics suggest that the field of medicine is partly to blame for the lack of oversight surrounding the over-prescription of opioids.