How the Opioid Crisis Got to Epidemic Proportions

PR Newswire PR Newswire • September 10, 2019

Whether or not you have been personally impacted by the opioid crisis, it is hard to ignore the epidemic that currently has its grip on America. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 350,000 people have died over the last 20 years from opioid overdose. What’s most frightening about this number is that the vast majority of these deaths have occurred since 2017. At this rate, the CDC estimates that roughly 130 people will die each day from an opioid overdose. JanOne, spearheaded by Eric Bolling, aims to be at the forefront to fight this epidemic before it gets worse.

Early Signs of a Problem

To understand how this problem got to this level, it is important to look back at the history of drug prescriptions in the United States. Though deaths caused by opioids can be traced back for decades, organizations like the CDC did not begin to document overdoses until the 1990s. Back then, the predominant way that people obtained opioids was through their primary care physician. Opioids were being prescribed for a variety of reasons, though most were centered around helping patients handle moderate or severe pain.

By 1999, there was a dramatic increase in the number of overdoses that occurred from prescription opioids and many reports of people becoming addicted to substances like methadone and heroin. Statistics released by the CDC mark 1999 as the year when the opioid crisis began its steady climb.

Heroin Issue

Although there are a variety of opioids available on the market, heroin remains the most commonly addicted drug. And during the ’90s, doctors began prescribing opioids for pain, which only further complicated the matter. However, by 2010 prescription painkillers were only part of the problem. While heroin has always been a popular street drug, 2010 marked changes to the methods that people used to obtain opioids. As the demand for heroin increased, more people turned to unreliable and illegal traders to gain access to the drugs they had become addicted to.

Although the ingredients have been tested for efficacy and safety, it has been proven that prescribed opioids are highly addictive. When similar products are bought from street dealers, there is no way to guarantee the contents of the drugs. This created an entirely new way for those addicted to heroin to overdose. Deaths related to bad or faulty batches of opioids began to soar around this time. Statistics point out that between 2011 and 2015, deaths caused by heroin in America tripled.

Synthetic Drugs and Modern Concerns That Could Lead To Opioid Overdose

The problem has only continued to increase over the last few years. The introduction of synthetic opioids created an entirely new problem and added to the already discouraging number of overdoses. Common synthetic opioids include:

• Hydrocodone

• Oxycodone

• Oxymorphone

• Hydromorphone

These synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of opioids. Not only do these drugs create the same risk of opioid overdose, there is a higher risk of contamination with these drugs vs. naturally occurring opioids such as heroin. Despite how much harm addiction causes, plenty of corrupt people see this as a business opportunity. This has resulted in illegal traffickers producing synthetic opioids with no health standards or guidelines, creating chaos in regard to what is available on the market.

By 2017, the opioid crisis had become a widespread concern for people throughout the United States. According to research, it is now more likely for an American to die from a drug-related opioid overdose than a car accident. To change these numbers, taking action is a must.

The Epidemic Impacts Everyone

Addiction to opioids knows no prejudices. People of all walks of life have been impacted by the horrors that this disease can bring. Years ago, it was of popular opinion that drug addiction only affected impoverished communities. In truth, anyone can fall under the power of opioids. This crisis goes beyond political affiliation, race, income, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender and every other trait that defines a person. If you haven’t been personally touched by this crisis, it is highly likely that you know someone who has.

When political commentator and television personality Eric Bolling lost his son to this epidemic in 2017, he wanted to do something to help others struggling with addiction. He founded JanOne as a way of taking an active part in finding a solution to a problem that is plaguing people from Maine to California.

Fighting Back

In order for opioid overdoses to become a tragedy of the past, people from all sectors need to take action and make serious changes. The health care industry has started to address these concerns in some ways, with a number of practitioners using extra scrutiny when writing prescriptions. Law enforcement has also attempted to crack down on drug rings and labs where synthetic drugs are manufactured. While these are excellent advancements, there is much more to the problem than controlling where the drugs come from.

People become vulnerable to addiction for various reasons. Many psychologists have stated that there may be a connection between addiction and psychological ailments such as depression. A focus on mental health may be key to help those at risk for becoming addicted to opioids. As doctors and scientists continue to study this epidemic, they uncover more information on where the problem originates within a person and how best to address it.

The opioid crisis has been growing steadily for many years. While it can seem like a frightening problem without a clear solution, there are positive changes being made. Stay educated and learn the best ways that you can take action to help those suffering from addiction.

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