The Opioid Crisis | Top Stories from September

PR Newswire PR Newswire • October 1, 2019

As the opioid crisis around America continues to impact more and more citizens, new reports are emerging about how people are handling the epidemic. From government failures to international concerns, it can be important to take time to learn more about opioid awareness. To give you a better idea of what’s been happening around the world, here are some of the pressing stories that emerged in September.

Failure To Act

Fentanyl is a name many people have heard before—the narcotic has been used to treat pain for many years. It is also considered highly addictive and is labeled as a controlled substance. In fact, reports in 2015 suggest this drug was responsible for an astounding number of deaths, and The Washington Post recently reported that a bill was supposed to be introduced in that same year to help control the distribution of fentanyl, but never made it to Congress. As with many important issues, partisan fighting led to delays and conflicts until the proposed bill faded away.

Though another attempt was made in 2017 to control fentanyl, the delayed measure came at a cost. The recent report suggests that between 2015 and 2017, there were more than 67,000 overdoses caused by fentanyl in America.

Dark Web Concerns

A major concern with fentanyl is its availability on the dark market and in the international drug trade. In the age of the internet, it is easier than ever to peddle impure narcotics all over the world. The lack of regulation on backwater channels have caused countless people to overdose on what they assume are safe opioids.

Journalist Ben Westhoff spent a significant amount of time researching the dark web and the drug trade found online. His recently released book “Fentanyl, Inc.” details his journey to uncover the widespread use of synthetic opioids in an attempt to illuminate this pressing issue and raise opioid awareness. Westhoff explains that fentanyl can easily kill in small doses and that people put themselves in incredibly risky situations when purchasing these narcotics from the internet or street dealers.

Emerging Studies on Treatment and Opioid Awareness

For many years, rehab and treatment facilities have utilized three specific drugs in an attempt to assist people struggling with opioid awareness: naltrexone, buprenorphine and methadone. Though all three have been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration and are used regularly throughout the United States, a recent report by researchers at the Mayo Clinic suggests that these treatment options are vastly underused. Providing prescription opioids to addicts has seen impressive results, but many factors inhibit the success of the treatment.

For patients to see success with a prescription opioid, they must also attend mediation and other counseling services. Unfortunately, many addicts take the prescribed drugs but shirk the other aspects of recovery, which can lead to relapse. The report by the Mayo Clinic suggests that greater success can be found with using these drugs if proper counseling services are always provided alongside the treatment.

International Concerns

Globally, drug abuse has not had the same impact as in the United States. Recent statistics suggest that this is changing at a dramatic rate. Reports from Australia show a recent surge in opioid prescriptions; opioid-related deaths in 2006 totaled roughly 439, while that number skyrocketed to 1,119 a decade later in 2016. Since then, the number of opioid-related deaths has consistently gone up each year.

Medical professionals state the problem hit Australia in the same way it did in the United States: Doctors and other experts prescribing opioids to patients for a wide range of issues despite the risks. While the medical community cannot be held fully accountable, many Australian doctors have expressed guilt at signing off on prescriptions that led to an overdose.

Purdue Pharma

Recent news suggests action is being taken against the Sackler family, the billionaires considered responsible for the widespread use of OxyContin and similar painkillers. Though the family’s company Purdue Pharma is attempting to settle for billions of dollars, countless citizens and lawmakers want to hold the Sackler family accountable for their contributions to the epidemic. At the very least, people are demanding the family remove themselves permanently from the company.

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