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Opioid Crisis America’s Epidemic

Opioid Crisis America’s Epidemic

Opioid addiction has become a 50-state epidemic. It travels along Interstates as some form of smuggled heroin. It streams out of what we call “pill mill” pain clinics that hand out pain medications like candy. The opioid crisis in America is a beast which we fail to defeat.

The current epidemic has been called, by Public health officials, the worst crisis in the history of America.  In 2015, more than 33,000 people died because of it. Governmental numbers show that roughly 64,000 people overdosed and died from drugs in 2016.

Overdose death numbers were virtually equal to the deaths from motor vehicle accidents. And, for the first time, deaths caused by heroin alone exceeded gun homicides in 2015. It’s 2017, imagine where the numbers are now when there’s no sign this opioid crisis will be letting up.

The experts explain that over 2 million Americans are dependent on drugs or have abused prescription pain pills or other drugs in the past.


America’s Opioid Crisis: What are Opioids?

Opioids are drugs designed for replicating the pain diminishing effects of opium. Legal painkillers such as hydrocodone or oxycodone which are doctor prescribed and illegal drugs like heroin are part of the opioid tree.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are full of accountants, lawyers, young adults, even teenagers.

As its steady escalating, opioid addiction has become even more deadly with a sudden influx of fentanyl an illicitly manufactured drug. The leading cause of deaths for Americans under the age of 50 is now drug overdoses.

Other data surrounding this opioid crisis points to the East Coast, as numbers of drug overdoses increase in these states, particularly Maryland, Maine, Pennsylvania and Florida.

First responders report that with fentanyl involved, overdoses are so severe, several doses of naloxone — the anti-overdose medication also known as Narcan — must be administered to pull people out.


This Epidemic Has No Face but Many Names

Oxycodone – a powerful narcotic. Percocet, OxyContin, and Percodan are all Oxycodone products.

Morphine – a powerful opioid often administered via syringe for severe pain.

Fentanyl –  a completely synthetic opioid, initially formulated as a powerfully potent anesthetic used during surgery. Fentanyl is 100x more potent than morphine.


Opioid Crisis: Addiction

Illegal and prescription opioids are both commonly abused as they’re so addictive.

Opioid medications effect the parts of the brain which control both pain and emotions. They spike up dopamine levels (feel-good hormones) in the brain causing an intense feeling of euphoria.

Opioids Crisis: Addictive painkillers

  • Codeine –one of the weakest in the opioid family tree.
  • Hydrocodone.
  • Heroin – an illegal opioid.
  • Fentanyl – synthetic, the most powerful and most dangerous opioid.
  • Morphine.
  • Meperidine –narcotic analgesic, like morphine.
  • Hydromorphone- highly potent prescription.
  • Methadone –used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in treating addiction to opioids during their recovery process.
  • Buprenorphine –an alternative to methadone.


Regulation and funding

Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicized the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit inside the Department of Justice, in August 2017.

State legislatures are now presenting measures to regulate “pill mill” pain clinics to restrict the number of opioids doctors can distribute.

As President Trump declares “we can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”

The first defense is to be informed.

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