Opioid Overdose Crisis

Opioids are a category of medication that consist of the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids which include fentanyl, and pain relievers to be had legally by prescription, inclusive of oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others.

basically It is estimate that every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription in order to relieve pain, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—has become a serious national crisis that affects public health as well the whole country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2

How could this happen

If you did not know how this could happen then you need to read this, In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater without any worry. And by so doing this subsequently has led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it was realized that the medication was highly addictive. Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

What do you know about the opioid crisis?

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
  • The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.

What are HHS and NIH doing about it?

In reaction to the opioid disaster, the U.S. department of health and Human services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five principal priorities:

  1. Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. Promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic thru better public fitness surveillance
  4. Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. Advancing better practices for ache management

The national Institutes of health (NIH), a factor of HHS, is the nation’s main medical research agency supporting solve the opioid crisis through discovering new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage ache. To accelerate progress, NIH is exploring formal partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and academic research facilities to develop:

  1. Secure, effective, non-addictive strategies to control chronic pain
  2. New, revolutionary medications and technology to deal with opioid use issues
  3. Advanced overdose prevention and reversal interventions to store lives and help recovery

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