Op-Ed Draft—roses0102

Who’s To Blame for Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction and abuse is a rising problem in the United States claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and creating an epidemic. Opioids are a category of extremely addictive drugs prescribed to patients to relax muscles and relieve pain. Opioid addictions across the U.S are fueled by the Drug Enforcement Agency not regulating the use or distribution of opioids leading to illegal diversion of these drugs

The epidemic of opioid abuse has been rapidly growing in the past 2 decades, and has claimed over 400,000 lives. While needing the drugs for pain is a different scenario, too many of these drugs are being produced, leading to unmonitored drug distribution . When people need opioids for pain, they often become reliant on the drug and as a result, doctors are handing out prescriptions for it and pharmaceutical companies are making more of it. People of all ages are given these drugs, even as young as 11. An 11 year old kid was prescribed painkillers at a young age, one pill led to another leading him in a downhill spiral. By just 18 years old, he was fully addicted to oxycontin with no turning back, and at the age of 21 he died from his addiction. While at first these drugs were prescribed for pain, and then illegal misuse led to his death. The illegal diversion of these drugs from pharmaceutical companies should have been overlooked by the Drug Enforcement Agency

As for enforcing the drug epidemic, the DEA did not do much to slow it down. The use, distribution and availability of opioids was not regulated, despite and increasing amount of people dying from the drugs. The DEA’s overlooking the addictions were said to have left agencies “ill-equipped to effectively monitor ordering patterns for all pharmaceutical opioids, which could enable the diversion of these prescription drugs and compromise public safety.” The D.E.As main job is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the U.S It has been said that the DEA allowed large quantities of the drug to be produced while the death toll raised. While allowing these drugs to be produced, they were also being distributed to thousands of pharmaceutical companies across the United States.

Opioid is a very difficult situation to stop because of the people that actually need these prescribed painkillers. The issue is for the severely addicted people of all ages dying at the hands of their addiction. The enforcement of these drugs need to be held on a tighter rope to even improve the amount of addictions, let alone stop them. The DEA should be held accountable for not regulating the drug us. The US is fighting and dealing with this struggle first hand to put an end to the epidemic as fast as possible.

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3 Responses to Op-Ed Draft—roses0102

  1. davidbdale says:

    Check this out if you’re wondering who’s to blame for the opioid crisis:


  2. davidbdale says:

    Roses, you’ve left some key observations out of your introduction.
    —Why would doctors prescribe an “extremely addictive drug” to anyone?
    —If they knowingly did so, is the DEA responsible for that?
    —If they innocently prescribed needed drugs and their patients abused them, how is that the responsibility of the DEA?
    —How would the DEA have intervened if doctors were correctly prescribing, pharmacies were correctly dispensing, and patients were over-using the drugs, become addicted?
    Obviously, I don’t expect you to argue your entire case in your introduction; I’m merely suggesting that unless you’re prepared to blame the DEA for the entire problem, you’ll be setting yourself a difficult task. You might want to write your introduction LAST, after you decide whatever thesis you can reasonably support.

    As you suggest here, doctors are “handing out prescriptions.” But what exactly does that mean? That one doctor per patient is casually over-prescribing more drugs than needed to the same patient again and again? Or does it mean that doctors somehow BENEFIT from over-prescribing?Or that patients are visiting multiple doctors to get prescriptions from several?

    And you suggest that “pharmaceutical companies are making more of it.” But what does that mean? That they offered a safe drug for sale that turned out to be immensely useful and therefore popular beyond their expectations? Or does it mean that they fraudulently marketed the drugs as SAFE while knowing how addictive they were and hoping to profit from the addictions?

    Not in this paragraph, but in another you also suggest that “distribution was not regulated.” But what does that mean? That nobody tracked how many drugs were being shipped to pharmacies? Or does it mean that distributors deliberately ignored overuse and pumped tens of thousands of pills into towns of just a few hundred people, willfully contributing to the fraudulent distribution of way too many pills? And did they do so with the active compliance of pharmacists who had to have known that the same few people could not possibly be filling legitimate prescriptions for thousands of pills?

    In other words, how did the 11-year-old, who got his first pills from a legitimate prescription, turn into an addict shortly after and manage to keep himself stocked with pills until his death at 21? Was he doctor-shopping? Was he forging prescriptions? Was he buying from bootleg suppliers? What was the distribution chain that kept him supplied, and how much of it can you lay at the feet of the DEA?

    Here’s your answer: The DEA was “ill-equipped to effectively monitor ordering patterns for all pharmaceutical opioids, which could enable the diversion of these prescription drugs and compromise public safety.” You know what I’m going to say now, right? But what does that mean?

    “The DEA allowed large quantities of the drug to be produced” is an odd argument. What does it mean? The mere quantity is only problematic if it is funneled to an abusive distribution stream. So, at what point did it become obvious that too many drugs were being funneled out to the public?

    “[The drugs] were also being distributed to thousands of pharmaceutical companies across the United States.” What does this mean? The drugs are PRODUCED BY the pharmaceutical manufacturers. They are shipped out to DISTRIBUTORS who distribute them to drug store chains or smaller local distributors or individual pharmacies. Is this where the DEA should have noticed gross over-fulfillment?

    You’re completely correct that ending abuse is very difficult when a substance is essential and therapeutic for millions of patients. And certainly, now that the epidemic has gained national attention, our natural inclination is to blame the government for neglecting a serious health risk.

    You may be COMPLETELY CORRECT to blame the DEA entirely for the suffering of addicts and the tragic loss of lives, but TO BE PERSUASIVE you have to have enough command of the material to keep your readers from asking that nagging and annoying question, “But what does that mean?”

    I hope that was helpful and not just distressing, Roses. You have good instincts, you’re developing a reasonable narrative, and you have organized your material to guide readers along a path to your conclusion. It’s just that along the way you’re taking too much for granted. Critical readers will not follow you over shaky ground.


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