6 Facts to Know About the Opioid Epidemic in the United States

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U.S. officials are looking for a way to improve America’s communities and cities by helping them escape and recuperate from the drug epidemic that’s seizing the country. 

Opioids include prohibited drugs such as heroin and legal drugs such as fentanyl and morphine. Ordinary prescription painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine are also included in this category. Almost 100 people die from opioid misuse each day according to statistics from the CDC. 

President Trump promised while he was campaigning to ensure that counteracting this problem would be on the list of federal officials’ top priorities. He continued to make this vow after he was placed into the Oval Office. The White House is expected to announce it as a nationwide public health emergency epidemic in the near future. 

1. The government is describing it as a national public health emergency—they aren’t calling it a national emergency. 

Although the president vowed to designate the opioid epidemic as a national emergency, which is typically called upon when we’re facing threats from domestic or foreign dangers, it’s suspected that Trump will approve the Department of Health & Human Services’ acting director in announcing that it’s a health emergency to the public

This sort of emergency doesn’t reach as far because it’s just meant to temporarily last 90 days, but it can be renewed by Congress as many times as they want. The determination does not come with explicit funding, The Associated Press explains, but it does let the government waive Medicaid regulations and privacy laws if these actions are needed to address the emergency. 

13 public health emergencies were announced in relation to this year’s wildfires and hurricanes. The opioid emergency is the first national public health emergency ever since the declaration to prepare for the H1N1 influenza virus in 2009. 

2. The crisis has witnessed record death tolls. 

Every day approximately 91 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose. This includes the use of prescription pills as well as heroin, according to the CDC. The provisional numbers described by the center report overdose deaths in the ballpark of 64,000 individuals in 2016. This surpassed 2015’s recording-setting number. Although the nation has observed a steady reduction in the number of teen drug overdose deaths from 2007-2014, the rate of losses has spiked in recent times because of the opioid crisis. 

3. Legal prescriptions for opioids is also an issue. 

According to the CDC, the opioids given to each patient in 2015 was triple the amount from 1999. Sen. Claire McCaskill published initial findings of an examination into America’s top-five manufacturers’ business practices in regard to prescription opioids in early September. 

The report alleges that Insys Therapeutics, a prescription drug manufacturer, served a function in the overprescription and overutilization of Subsys, its fentanyl drug. Other studies have found that almost 30% of young adults feel that it’s fine to take opioids with no prescription. 1 in 10 also said that they had or heard about someone who took opioids from someone else who had a prescription. 

4. Millennials have less of a chance to treat pain with opioids. 

Research published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in August indicates that people born during 1981-1997 aren’t as likely to alter their lifestyles to compensate for chronic pain. For baby boomers (born between 1948-1964), it’s twice as likely that they’ve taken opioids to manage severe pain. 

5. Pharmacies and medical institutions have come to help. 

Pharmacies and medical institutions have decided to make changes in direct response to the opioid crisis. The institutions are equipping future doctors with the training to handle this problem by providing courses, lessons and clinical rotations in pain management and drug addiction treatment. Pharmacies are thinking about using new restrictions daily doses and limiting opioid supplies.