It seems like every year we hear about another adverse side effect of pharmaceutical opioid drugs. Yes, there is the rampant death toll from these drugs. The fact that pills are supposed to help people and instead end up killing them is a frequent headliner in news and media.
The U.S. struggles in the grip of an opioid crisis—perhaps the worst addiction epidemic that our nation has ever seen. And in the last few years, a new strain of opioids has entered the scene, creating a surge in the addiction crisis and a resulting spike in the death toll.
With powerful fentanyl being found in cocaine, methamphetamine, counterfeit pills and Spice, it’s a more life-threatening world in which to abuse drugs than ever before.
At this point, it is pretty clear to me that the United States of America is suffering from a crippling and extremely derisive opioid addiction epidemic. Sometimes, we have a hard time swallowing this bitter truth.
When important changes occur, there’s a possibility of sudden pendulum-swing reactions to those changes. That’s what we’ve been seeing as doctors try to work out the right prescribing practices for opioids. Dr. Kevin Zacharoff moved the focus to medical ethics to teach doctors how to make better decisions.
Thirty years ago, opiate addiction had a very limited range. Most opiate addicts were simply using heroin. A few might be abusing morphine and in a few regions, addicts might have access to opium. In recent years, this landscape has changed entirely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of U.S. babies born addicted to opioids has increased by more than three-hundred percent in the last fifteen years.
Heroin. Just the name of the drug itself creates concern and perhaps a touch of morbidity in those who hear it. Heroin has been the bane of life for millions, one of the oldest and most deadly drugs still in use today.
Another major national organization has just joined the fight against America’s opioid epidemic. The American Dental Association advised its members on the steps they should take so their patients are not exposed to opioid painkillers, reducing the chance of future addiction.
Everyone wants to combat the epidemic of opioid misuse that killed nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016. Is adding a tax to the price of each pill the right solution?