Opioid Epidemic On the Rise

Did you know that 91 Americans die from overdose everyday? Which is 33,215 people every year and 531,440 people over the course of the last 16 years (as of 2017).

Opioid is a class drug used as a painkiller substance that are used illegally that acts as a opioid receptors to produces morphine like effects. The opioid crisis broke out in the United States and Canada due to prescription and nonprescription drugs during the late 1990’s to the early decade of the 2000’s.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdoses deaths (six out of ten) involved an opioid.

Since 1999, the number of drug overdoses involving an opioid (including prescription opioid and heroin) has quadrupled. From 2000 to 2016, more than half of million Americans died from a drug overdose.

When did the opioid crisis begin? It all started in the 1990’s when a small group of physicians started to receive funding from drug firms, which led to the mass creation of multiple painkillers like Vicodin, Morphine, Methadone. But what really set the opioid epidemic to the bar was the Sackler family foundation.

American brothers Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler started the groundbreaking business behind the opioid crisis with their infamous Purdue Pharma family company. Before Purdue Pharma was “Purdue Pharma’’, the company was founded and formerly owned by John Purdue Gray and George Frederick Bingham back in 1892 when it was known as “Purdue Frederick Company” in New York, New York. Nearly halfway through the 20th century, founders sold off the company to the Sacklers in 1952. With the rise of the new of the 1990’s, Purdue Pharma L.P. targeted mainly towards pain medications and more. The company that “pioneer in developing medications for reducing pai, a principal cause of human suffering,” is the producer of OxyContin” stated from a article from The Conversation.

With Marijuana, Magical Mushrooms, and Hallinates being some of the substances that sparked up the generation in the 60’s and mid 70’s, Cocaine sparking in the mid 80’s, these were just infamous events that led opioid epidemic to be with the letter creation of OxyContin. OxyContin is described to “a specific brand name for a pain medication in the opioid class (narcotic drugs) that contains the extended-release version of oxycodone…”, according to the american addiction centers.org. Oxycodone is “an opiate agonist that is the active ingredient in a number of narcotic pain medications, including Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin” according from the same source.

Since the public approval of stocking Oxycontin in 1995 and Purdue Pharma introducing it as a drug that would prevent the pain, the world of pain medication had taken a new turn. By 1998, a new classed drug called  Actiq also known as Fentanyl was released as another pain medication that helps relieve critical ongoing pain that’s the result of cancer.

As of recent, everyone who has ever prescribed opioids, sold, and or benefited from opioids have now come to the realization that opioids is extremely addictive and harmful to the body. Which is pretty ironic considering numerous of sources many years ago claimed that these substances didn’t do anything. But the thing that is fascinating about the whole concept is the fact that the main consumers are people of the Caucasian descent. According to an Huffington Post article, “White people with money weren’t by the crack epidemic, it was out of sight, out of mind.” This statement followed by a study from JAMA Psychiatry citing that “… heroin usage among has risen dramatically over the last decade.” (also from the same article.)

With the percentage of drug overdoses and the popularity increases in multiple painkiller companies and brands, the more people who truly believed that opioids wasn’t a big issue has now develop a certain interest in stopping this dilemma. Numerous of politicians to the president of the United States have now urged the mass public about the dangers of opioids and how we should put a stop to this horrendous crisis.

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