The opioid crisis is ravaging through communities, taking somewhere around 178 lives a day. The crisis has been charted since 1978, and the deaths per year have been increasing exponentially since. Since 1978, there have been over 600 thousand deaths due to opioid overdose, proving that this issue is of extreme importance, and action must be taken now. (Sciencemag.org) The HHS reports 10 million cases of prescription opioid misuse in 2018, a total of 3% of the entire US population. (hhs.gov) The opioid crisis is growing rapidly, but how did it start? To answer this we must begin with how people end up overdosing. Often, people are overprescribed drugs such as oxycontin or hydrocodone, and become reliant over the course of a couple months. At that point, it is likely that they will be taken off the medication and suffer intense withdraws, or continue to be prescribed and gain an even greater reliance on the medication. In some cases, people who are no longer able to get an opiate prescription will turn to street forms of the drug, which are far less safe and harbor a greater chance of overdose. Others will begin buying prescription opiates off others, or continue to be prescribed a progressively growing dose. From this we can trace back a huge rate of opioid death to the widespread use of opiates as the leading pain treatment solution. 

Recently, the US government has taken action in the form of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2019, which counters the affects that the opioid crisis has had on America. The act assists mothers, restricts access to addictive drugs and much more. The purpose of the act is to proactively reduce the harm of the opioid crisis in all the ways it affects the American people. The act is seen as a huge step in addressing the opioid crisis.

In the past, people have made efforts to inform people of the dangers of opioid medications, and even filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, notably Purdue, the creator of oxycontin. Purdue originally claimed that oxycontin was non addictive, and had to lobby heavily to get it approved for use beyond treatment for pain involved with cancer. Purdue even exchanged favors of dinner parties and under the table cash bonuses for those doctors that prescribed great amounts of oxycontin, “Physicians who attended the dinner programs or the weekend meetings wrote more than double the number of new Rxs for OxyContin compared to the control group,” this confirms the shady nature of Purdue’s actions. Now however, Purdue has been sued to the ground and is filing for bankruptcy, and is mandated to increase awareness and supply of anti overdose drugs, which actively save lives every day. From this we find our first solution, which is more of a band aid fix. Increasing awareness of anti overdose medications will lower the number of opioid deaths, however not fix the issue at large. A more effective long term solution would be in the prescription of opioids themselves, as they are the first choice for intense pain management. If we were to lower the time that people are prescribed opiates for the immediate pain, and to use other methods of resolving long term pain. Our artifact is designed to raise awareness of the issue, hopefully increasing the number of people who support the production of anti overdose drugs, and to incentivize the funding of addiction clinics.

I invite you to comment and respond to this post, all are welcome.

Oxycodone by The Drug Users Bible on 2019-04-17 08:32:15

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Solutions to the Opioid Crisis by Elijah is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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