Opioid Crisis in America and Impact

Opioid Crisis in America and Impact. As a result of an increase in opioid related deaths in America, the Department of Health and Human Services declared it a health emergency. Although the crisis is visible in the 21st century, it can be traced as far back as the previous century where there were concerns on the likelihood of opioid addiction.  In the 90s, the medical community had a meeting with pharmaceutical entities to discuss the likelihood of addiction and there was a reassurance that patients would not get addicted. Such reassurance may have formed the basis of the resultant crisis since doctors prescribed opioids at a higher rate which led to misuse as well as addiction. Considering that a large number of Americans die each year as a result of opioid overdose, this blame falls on the pharmaceutical companies that failed to highlight the possibility of opioid addiction. The current opioid crisis could have been avoidable if pharmaceuticals had been truthful about likely addiction.

Opioid Crisis in America and Impact

            Early identification of an opioid crisis could have helped revert the crisis currently facing the United States.  Each day, the United States loses approximately 115 people following an overdose on opioids and this creates not only the burden of loss but also an economic burden following lost productivity, healthcare costs, involvement of the criminal justice system, and addiction treatment (NIH, 2018). Importantly, the likelihood of a crisis was identified in the late 90s but a reassurance by the pharmaceutical companies led to the increased prescription of opioids in the US. In 2015, about 33,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of opioid overdose and this includes fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioids (NIH, 2018). Greed from the big pharmaceutical companies can be squarely attributed to the problem since they hid the risks of opioids from the medical community.

            In ensuring that there were high sales from the sale of prescription drugs, large pharmaceuticals often used patient advocacy organizations to push their agendas while also colluding with politicians. The influence of large companies on politicians meant that regulations were in their favor thus allowing physicians to continue prescribing as much drugs as possible without censure. 

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