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Running head: OPIATE ADDICTION EPIDEMIC
Opiate Addiction Epidemic
OPIATE ADDICTION EPIDEMIC
The American public space has been dominated by the increase in the number of
individuals who become addicted to the use of opioids. Opioids are drugs that are widely in the
management of pain among patients. Over the last century, medical officers have recommended
these drugs for use by patients who are suffering from great pains that may not be efficiently
dealt with by the common pain relievers. In most cases, these substances are used in the
management of acute and severe pain especially in circumstances where a person is suffering
from prolonged illnesses. Some of the most commonly used opioids include fentanyl, methadone,
and codeine. These substances work by attaching themselves to the receptors in the brain. When
this attachment takes place, the drugs send signals to the brain to block the release of pain
hormones and the slowing of the breathing system. While the drugs have been effective in
relieving patients of the pains that they have, it is notable that there has been a continued rise in
the misuse of the substances. Most of the patients have been abusing the substances by using
them in a manner that is not in consonance with the prescriptions. It is important to note that
when these elements are utilized for a prolonged period, they react with the body systems in such
a manner that they compel the individuals to seek to use them frequently, a situation that leads to
addiction. In the recent past, pharmaceutical companies have been accused by different
stakeholders for acting in a manner that appears to promote this addiction problem. In that
regard, this paper examines all the factors that surround the addiction that is attributable to
opioids and the extent in which the pharmaceutical companies contribute to these issues. In the
end, the paper suggests the possible policy changes that would address the opiates addiction
epidemic and the subsequent health complications.
OPIATE ADDICTION EPIDEMIC
Opioids play crucial roles in the society. In the medical field, opioids have been
extensively used in the cure of a wide range of health complications. One of the illnesses that
have been addressed by this group of drugs is pain that arises due to a wide variety of diseases.
However, these drugs are consisting of very potent compounds (Califf et al, 2016). They are
prone to be abused and often lead to addictions. Traditionally, there have been concerns over the
manner in which these drugs have been abused and misused by various individuals. While it is
clear that these substances help in alleviating the levels of pain among the users, the rate at which
people use these substances for nonmedical purposes is worrying.
The United States of America is one of the largest consumers of the drugs and in that
regard, it is the country that is most affected by the problems that come with addition and the use
of other illegal narcotics. Statistics indicate that the United States an extended use hundreds of
billions worth of opioids both for the medical and nonmedical purposes. At the beginning of the
twentieth century, there was a shift in focus regarding the manner in which individuals used
these substances. There were concerted efforts from both the governmental and the nongovernmental organizations in an attempt to control the manufacturing and distribution of these
items (Hernandez & Nelson, 2010). Initially, there was significant progress, but that slowed
down towards the last years of the century.
Consequently, debates arose regarding the roles that the pharmaceutical companies play
or those that they ought to play about the problem. Evidently, it has emerged that the
pharmaceutical companies have been hugely involved in the manufacture and distribution of the
substances by exploiting the legal loopholes or adopting mechanisms that are outrightly illegal.
OPIATE ADDICTION EPIDEMIC
Since the primary focus of these organizations is the increase in their profit margins, these
companies are paying less attention to the health ramifications that arise from a continued use of
these substances. In that regard, any debate or policy formulation that aims at reducing or
combating the effects of opioids in the communities must have the pharmaceutical companies at
the back of their minds (Secora et al, 2014).
The large part of the twentieth century regarding opioid addiction focused on the
alternative treatment options for the people that had been addicted to the substances. For
instance, there was the generation of opioid maintenance therapy to heal people get relief from
their dependence on the substances. However, as the advancements in the treatment mechanisms
improved, the earlier rules regarding production and distribution relaxed. During this time, there
was a sudden upsurge in the number of persons who used these substances both for prescribed
purposes and the nonmedical purposes. It is also necessary to realiz...