It seems that no one is impervious to the opioid crisis in America. It affects people across geographic, racial, and income-based demographics and has been declared a national crisis by the President.
With an average of over one-hundred and fifteen opioid-related deaths occurring every day, medical professionals and government officials are scrambling to address this out-of-control problem.
New studies are showing that attempts to regulate the administration of opioids in clinical settings through drug monitoring programs may not be working as effectively as desired.
Other studies are showing that synthetic versions of the drug are doing the majority of the damage, and that demographic segments of the population we wouldn’t normally expect to be susceptible to the drug are also at risk.
Historical research sheds some interesting light on the genesis of the opioid crisis in relation to colonialism and international business.
And speaking of the business side of things, a startling piece of investigative journalism reveals the sinister truth that educational programs for medical professionals about opioid addiction are actually funded by pharmaceutical companies themselves.
Read on to learn what interesting things are being uncovered by scientific study and investigative journalism in the following articles.
Opioid Deaths Barely Slowed by Prescription Monitoring, Study Suggests
Photo By Max Pepper
A new study of prescription drug monitoring programs across the United States suggests that these programs may not effectively reduce the number of overdoses, but features such as mandatory reviews could still be useful.
The study examined opioid overdoses and prescription drug monitoring programs, combining data from every state and seventeen previous studies, ultimately leading the conclusion that the results were inconsistent and do not clearly support the cost of implementing these programs.
Researchers believe that the solution lies in combating the demand for opioids through accessible mental health treatment and social services, rather than restricting the supply.
Synthetics Now Killing More People Than Prescription Opioids, Report Says
A new study is showing that illicitly synthesized opioids, especially fentanyl, have passed prescription opioids as the primary killer in the ongoing overdose crisis.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 more times powerful than morphine, heroin, and oxycodone. It’s a rapidly acting drug with a more intense effect than natural opioids, and is entering the country illegally, facilitated by dealers and manufacturers trying to outdo each other.
Fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs like cocaine, heroin, and alcohol, resulting in an increase of frequent and unexpected deaths.
In fact, of the over 42,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2016, almost 20,000 were associated with synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The U.S. Opioid Crisis Started in India
Image Via Wikimedia Commons
Did you know that India is connected to the current opioid crisis in the United States? It’s a story of colonialism, politics, and business.
When the British-instigated opium crisis in China ended, the Indian opiate machine seemed like it would be closing down for good.
However, American soldiers returning from the Civil War were already becoming addicted to the drug, which was being imported from Turkey by German drug manufacturers.
After World War II, these companies began to turn away from Turkish imports, and turned instead to India. With the War on Drugs and the end of the Turkish Poppy trade, the import of Indian opioids was solidified, instigating a crisis in the United States which has spiraled out of control.
Doctors Receive Opioid Training. Big Pharma Funds It. What Could Go Wrong?
Photo By Engin_Akyurt
Doctors and medical professionals are required to take training on opioids, but a recent piece of investigative Journalism from Mother Jones has revealed that many of these programs are funded by the very same pharmaceutical manufacturers of these opioid drugs.
These programs meet the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who requires the companies to administer these continuing education units to prescribers, but large amounts of money have changed hands in the hiring of medical professional talent to teach these courses, raising questions about the instructional agenda: is this promotion, or education?
People With Autism Aren’t Protected From Opioid Addiction
Image By Natalie Matthews-Ramo
People with autism may surprisingly be at higher risk for opioid use than we expect. Autistic men and women may turn to opioids in order to combat the depression and anxiety associated with their mental disability.
While people may expect that the sensory issues, social disabilities, and sheltered living associated with autism may preclude the likelihood of drug use, studies are showing the opposite. Autistic teens and adults may turn to drugs and alcohol to normalize themselves and fit in with others, or desensitize the hypersensitivity they experience as a symptom of high-functioning autism (formerly referred to as Aspergers).
More research and educational outreach is necessary to deal with this crisis.