Drug abuse is a major problem throughout the world. Drugs can influence the everyday lives of people, whether they be users, dealers, drug-related crime victims, or the friends and family of a person affected. Violent crime, prostitution, government corruption, and more can all have a link to narcotics. Much of the world, including the United States, try to stop these effects of illicit drugs by focusing on stricter laws and enforcement. Yet this this approach may be counterproductive. Although some people think the “tough on crime” approach is the best way to deal with drug problems, the truth is decriminalizing drugs is the best approach. With decriminalization, the negative effects of current drug policy can be lessened.
In the United States alone, more than 36 million people abuse illegal substances, however, most of these are not caused by the prescription of opioids. A drug abuse crisis is overtaking the U.S. Drug abuse kills over 200,000 people worldwide each year, although only .002 percent of these deaths are caused by the prescription of opioids. 117 million people suffer from a chronic illness, many of which need the prescription of opioids to function on a daily basis. Even though many people abuse them, doctors should not stop prescribing opioids because they are necessary for many people to function, most people who abuse them have had problems with other substances, and most opioid-related deaths do not come from doctor prescribed pills.
The legalization of drugs has been at the center of interminable debate. Drugs have widely been perceived as a dominant threat to the moral fabric of society. Drug use has been attributed as the source responsible for a myriad of key issues. For instance, it is believed that drugs have exacerbated the already weak status of mental health in the United States in which some individuals suffering from mental illness administer illicit substances such as heroin or cocaine in an attempt to self-medicate. Moreover, drugs are blamed for turning auspicious members of the community into worthless degenerates. Thus, vast efforts have been made to regulate the alleged drug problem through various avenues. For example, programs have been created to steer
I. Importance: As American deaths from drug overdoses continue to rise in the United States, the nation is faced with a public health crisis so profound that in October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a national public health emergency (Merica). President Trump’s declaration came after numerous studies indicating the danger opioid addiction posed; for example, a 2016 study entitled “Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths—United States, 2010-2015” claimed that drug overdose deaths “nearly tripled during 1999-2014,” reaching a startling high 52,404 deaths in 2015 (Rudd, et al). These statistics are more than just disturbing revelations regarding the opioid crisis; they are evidence of a serious problem that is rapidly affecting the lives of more and more Americans every year. Death by overdose is not the only public policy concern, however, as millions of Americans are also addicted to prescription opioids.
Big Pharma Name: Institution: Over the past years, various issues have faced the United States of America in the health sector in general. Some of these challenges include difficulties in healthcare insurance policies, increasing cancer cases, elevated levels of misuse of prescription drugs, rise in the consumption of illicit drugs, inter alia. These issues have led to escalation of health issues to the American citizens, and in turn, affecting the economic status as well. This research will focus on the subject matter misuse, abuse, and addiction of opioid prescription drugs.
Opioid Epidemic in the United States The opioid crisis has risen over the years here in America. The addiction to painkillers has caused many drug overdoses across America. According to the Vox," In 2015, more than 52,000 people have died from drug overdoses from linked to opioids such as Percocet, heroin, Oxycontin or even fentanyl. This problem did not become an overnight health crisis, but it has become quickly known in America. Expanding our drug treatment centers across America would provide the support to those who are addicted to drugs.
Opioids is a big issue because Americans are addicted to drugs especially opioids. After a surgery doctors give patients opioids because they are a pain killer. After patients have been taking opioids they soon are not in pain anymore but they keep taking the pills because it makes their body feel relieved. People get addicted to this and can’t function without them.
According to Michael Klein, “The most prescription drugs that are commonly misused are opioids, tranquillizers, sedatives, and hypnotics.” Unintentional overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers have quadrupled since 1999 and have outnumbered those involving heroin and cocaine since 2002. (Klein). The reason some people abuse opioids is just to “get high”.
Pharmaceutical drug overdoses were recorded as one of the leading causes of death in the United States, killing more Americans than firearms or motor vehicle accidents (Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics, 2013). Many patients are being prescribed these medications after surgery or after suffering an injury that may not require surgery and through overuse, causing these patients to become addicted. Although many feel that doctors are still overprescribing narcotics, this epidemic of prescription drug abuse has been brought to the forefront of national consciousness causing many prevention strategies of abuse to be put in place, strategies that were not presented in the past. The hope for these strategies is to curb the amount of unnecessary prescriptions being prescribed. Some of these strategies include educating and training physicians and doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of addictive diseases, specifically the abuse and misuse of controlled prescription drugs, as well as the implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP),
These pills, such as xanax and oxycodone allow people for short periods of time to withdraw from the harsh reality faced today. “Between 1997 and 2002, sales of oxycodone and methadone nearly quadrupled” (Okie). Around 15 years later and the prescription pill problem is continuing to skyrocket. Since prescription pills are dispersed out to anyone by doctors, many people do not realize that it is as much of an illicit drug as cocaine and heroin is. “Misinformation about the addictive properties of prescription opioids and the perception that prescription drugs are less harmful than illicit drugs are other possible contributors to the problem” (NIDA).
Opioid pain medications are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Between 1991 and 2010, opioid prescriptions rose from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million. Americans account for 4.6% of the world’s population but consume approximately 80% of the world’s opioid supply. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 12 million people used prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons in 2010. Opioid abuse has led to increases in emergency-department visits, hospitalizations, and admissions to substance-abuse treatment centers at a time when our healthcare system is already strained.
Sam Quinones’ Dreamland is a commentary about the opioid problem in America. Quinones draws attention to how in the twentieth century opioids were seen as addictive: “[D]octers treating the terminally ill faced attitudes that seemed medieval when it came to opiates” (184). In the 1970s, Purdue Pharma stated that opioids such as morphine were not addictive substances. After this study was released, many doctors began to view opioids as a viable option for pain relief. Throughout the rest of the book, Quinones explains the shift from doctors never prescribing opiates to prescription opiates being used to treat any sort of pain: chronic back pain, arthritis, severe headaches, etc.
The opioids epidemic interventions are essential to prevent prescribed opioids abuse, promote safe prescriptions for individuals and decrease mortality rates. Furthermore, the goals in practicing safe and regulated medicine, enables the individual who needs opioids analgesics to control their pain and suffering. Implementing interventions to this issue would include holding health care professionals accountable for misconduct, educating and evaluating physicians, pharmacists, and monitoring prescribers to apply state laws and regulations. A collaborative approach to regulate, educate and monitor is inevitable for effective outcomes! Consequently, many physicians may possibly be hesitant prescribing opioids drugs to prevent penalties.
The supply chain is short in the use and misuse of opioids. This runs from the prescribing physician to the patient and the prescription drug abuser, which is often the same person. The vast majority of illicitly used prescription opioids are obtained from physicians, not drug dealers. People are seeking out pain medication through their primary physicians