The Opioid Epidemic

Did you know that the amount of prescription drugs sold to pharmacies from 1999 to 2010 nearly quadrupled?  Despite that, the amount of pain American’s reported suffering didn’t change.  You may have heard of the headlines in the news or from friends.  Opioid abuse is taking over America.  Cigarette use and alcohol abuse has actually gone down in the last couple decades, but opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone continue to kill almost 91 Americans a day.

How did it start?

The pharmaceutical companies have simply just mass produced drugs and sold them to hospitals at alarming rates.  One article claims that it all started with Purdue Pharma and their drug OxyContin.  No matter which company it was in specific, all big pharma.  Kentucky actually started suing Purdue Pharma in 2007 and eventually settled for $24,000,000, a fraction of the cost of the damage they caused.

The damage

In some bigger cities in the US, librarians are actually being trained to use Narcan to reverse overdoses.    Libraries nationwide have become scenes of fatal overdoses that have inspired politicians to require training of all librarians in their cities to be trained in first response.  Libraries have become safe haven for the homeless who are statistically for more likely to suffer with addictions.  But it affects everyone.  The problem has become so substantial that President Trump is donating his third quarter salary to fighting drug addiction.

Life expectancy

Drug abuse and specifically opioid abuse is actually bringing down the average life expectancy.  While doctors are learning how to treat heart problems and cancer, all of which is bringing life expectancy up, the opioid crisis continues to worsen.  Luckily, the drop isn’t too bad and isn’t even bringing down the average life expectancy an entire year, but it’s still significant when you consider the last time this has happened was in the 90’s.

It’s readily apparent that the opioid crisis is affecting every American.  Being informed of the issue and seeing what you can do to help those in need is key.  But also be aware of what you’re being given in the hospital.  Make sure you’re not just blindly taking medication you might not need.  Most information on most drugs is available online if you look for it.