Op-Ed for Portfolio – imagination

The misuse of and addiction to opioids is a serious national crisis that affects public health and had claimed the lives of many Americans each year and we are scrambling to find the right way to address this crisis. 

A 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. The crisis originated in the overprescribing of painkillers in the 1990s. 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 over doses quadrupled recently. 

Between 2015 and 2018, 18 million opioid prescriptions were written in Oklahoma, a state with a population of about 4 million. About 6,000 Oklahomans have died from opioid overdoses. The critical finding is that companies like Johnson and Johnson engage in false, deceptive, and misleading marketing.

Oklahoma pursued the first case against a drug manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, for the detrimental opioid disaster. Johnson & Johnson advertised false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns that caused aggressively increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths and babies born exposed to opioids. This company has savagely created the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma. The daunting financial muscle that has driven the spread of prescription opioids comes from the distributors. Even though many settlements have followed, little has changed. The opioid crisis is finally being recognized and is a tremendously intricate public health issue and everyone should have deep sympathy for everyone affected.

These companies should be put to federal trial and hope to provide a benchmark for a national resolution for other communities to have the resourced to do what is necessary to abate the opioid crisis. This is a national crisis that demands a national solution.



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