The misuse of and addiction to opioids is a serious national crisis that affects public health and has claimed the lives of many Americans each year, and yet people still pretend this isn’t an issue.
Background and Evidence
A coalition fighting drug addiction has been calling for the pharmaceutical companies that aggressively marketed opioids to be held responsible for the epidemic that has killed over 400,000 people in the US.
Four major drug companies agreed to pay $260 million to two Ohio counties in a last-minute bid to stave off the first federal opioid trial. Penalizing pharmaceutical companies is justified but misguided. The crisis originated in the overprescribing of painkillers in the 1990s. Most opioid deaths are now caused by illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
Sources I Have Found
Drug companies and some specialists pushed the notion that opioids were not addictive when used to treat pain. Out of that flowed a policy treating pain as a “fifth vital sign” that corralled hospitals and doctors into mass prescribing opioids. Deaths from opioid overdoses quadrupled recently; ninety-one Americans die from opioid overdoses every day.
In 2017, President Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency. Only about a fifth of people who need treatment for opioid addiction get it and far fewer receive the most effective medications for long enough. The surge in prescription drug abuse was followed by a wave of heroin addiction. Now more than half of opioid deaths are caused by synthetic versions such as fentanyl. Beyond the death toll, at least 2 million Americans have become addicted.
Sources I Haven’t Found
I would like to find and learn more about the court cases about this opioid crisis involving pharmaceutical companies and individual doctors.
Other reasons that could have or may have caused this opioid crisis.
Counterarguments I Need To Refute
The opioid crisis is not at the fault of doctors overly prescribing these medications
Opioid treatment is used only for medical treatment