Overview of the Opioid Crisis. The problems of opioid addiction, from both illicit drugs like heroin and prescription medications such as oxycodone has been with us for a very long time, and sadly, will remain a huge, costly, and ultimately deadly issue for the foreseeable future. But it is said that knowledge is power, and CNN.com has just published an excellent overview of the opioid crisis that is sure to open the eyes of even those who have a good working knowledge of the issue.
From the insightful overview of the opioid crisis, to a unique time line that begins in 1861, the article is well worth the time it takes to read:
Overview of the Opioid Crisis. Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic. In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million individuals in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder.
Opioids are drugs formulated to replicate the pain-educing properties of opium. They include both legal painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone prescribed by doctors for acute or chronic pain, as well as illegal drugs like heroin or illicitly made fentanyl. The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium.”
During 2017, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in the United States and 47,600 of those overdose deaths involved opioids. More than 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Prescription opioid volumes peaked in 2011, with the equivalent of 240 billion milligrams of morphine prescribed, according to the market research firm, IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The volume declined to about 171 billion milligrams of morphine in 2017, a 29% drop.