America has faced many problems from civil wars to social issues. This time America is facing a different type of problem. A opioid epidemic. It isn’t the first time there has been a drug problem either, but this could be the most deadly one of them all. There are tons of facts and other things people don’t know about opioids that they should know and be aware of. We all need to be educated and aware of this problem in order to stop this epidemic from spreading.
This problem hasn’t jumped just jumped out of nowhere. It has been a slow growing issue in America and other parts of the world. It all started in the 1980s where pain was frequently treated with opioids, and in the 80s nearly seven out of ten drug abuse deaths were caused by opioids. So, the government realized that this was a problem and they shut down funding and made it more difficult to get opioids through prescription. A decade later with a aging population and patients looking for more pain relief the government began to give funding for more prescription pain medicine with opioids in them. This was all due because of more complex and invasive surgeries in the growing world. Doctors and other health services began giving out prescription pain medicine like it was candy because the government was telling them to and giving them the funding in order to do so. At this time medical companies claimed that the risk of addiction to prescription opioids was very low, so they began to promote these to patients with all types of pain tolerances which was not needed.
During the early 2000s doctors and other medical researchers noticed the overwhelming truth about how addicting the prescription opioids were. They began to decrease the prescriptions given out to patients and would be more strict on how much they gave out and if the patients really needed them. This caused a rapid increase in deaths from heroin use because the patients were already addicted to prescription opioids and were being cut off from these prescriptions. From 2002 to 2013 overdoses from heroin skyrocketed 286%. Roughly 80% of heroin users admitted to misusing prescription opioids that they could easily get during the 90s and early 2000s. So, even though the government was trying to solve the problem with opioids it in turn caused patients and users to move to harder strong forms of opioids, which caused more overdosed and other harmful outcomes.
In 2013 things changed and users began to heavily use synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which is a man-made drug unlike heroin with was in morphine. This new type of opioid is about 100 times stronger than morphine, and the heroin was only about two times as strong. In general it had the same types of side effects like drowsiness and relieved you from pain, but it was way more powerful. It was way easier to overdosed on the new synthetic opioid than it was to overdosed on the regular heroin. “In 2016 there were over 20,000 deaths from fentanyl and related drugs.”
2016 was arguably the worst year in drug overdoses in the United States history. There was around 64,000 drug related deaths and most of them involved opioids. Most of these overdoses were mixed with other types of drugs like alcohol and types of depressants. As of today overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. It has taken more lives than car accidents and more lives than the Vietnam war in its deadliest year (16,899 in 1968) or at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States (43,115 in 1995).
There’s no hiding the fact that not just America but the whole world has a problem with all types of drugs. In all reality it is destroying us slowly and tearing us all apart. It’s destroying relationships with loved ones, and killing us mentally and physically. To truly be honestly we can only blame ourselves for this drastic problem we’ve created. We need to find ways to terminate this epidemic before it terminates all of us. We’ve got to learn how to fight addiction, and tolerate pain. Also not to rely on medication so much to deal with uncomfortable pain. Most importantly learn how to manage how much medication we take because we’ve seen how easily it can be to become addicted.
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