Opioids are a group of drugs that includes illegal drugs such as heroin, prescribed pain relievers allowed legally, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl. They are instrumental in relieving pain, but their regular use can lead to addiction and in serious cases result in death. In 2017, 1.7 million US citizens were addicted to opioids pain relievers while 652,000 citizens were already addicted to heroin (NIDA, 2019). Therefore, this paper focuses on important articles that clearly describe the opioids crisis.
According to Cicero in his article, “Is a Reduction in Access to Prescription Opioids the Cure for the Current Opioid Crisis?” He outlines dangers associated with the intake of opioids for a long time such as overdose deaths. He argues that the “opioid crisis was attributed to two factors: first, easy access to a growing market of prescription of opioid drugs (PODs), and second, professional pressure on physicians to more aggressively treat pain with these opioids ”( Cicero, 2018). In response to this crisis, Cicero argues that there were legislation efforts that targeted pill mills, “script” doctors were cracked down and creation of new practice rules for physicians by CDC.
As the government restricts access to pain relievers, users are forced to make either of the two choices: stop taking PODs or switch to heroin. However switching to a cheaper and more available opioid such as heroin brings “transmission of blood-borne pathogens from sharing needles, cardiovascular problems, and other medical complications” (Cicero, 2018). Due to the improper dosage of heroin, there are more overdose deaths associated with heroin than PODs. Therefore, the demand for opioids should be reduced since supply cannot be touched. To reduce the usage of opioids physicians are not offering opioid therapy; instead, they are referring them elsewhere. This is risky because we don’t want the patient to suffer in the name of reducing the use of an opioid for other purposes.
According to NIDA, in the article “Opioid Overdose Crisis,” Health and Human Services (HHS) focuses to eliminate the opioid crisis through improving curing services, using overdose-reversal drugs for addicts, improved citizens’ health surveillance, supporting related research on addiction, and creating new approaches for pain management (NIDA, 2019). Also, the National Institute of Health (NIH) discovers new ways to avoid opioid misuse, treat disorders related to opioid use, and also manages pain.
The two articles discuss the opioid crisis in detailed including dangers associated with overuse of opioids and ways to deal with opioid addiction. This implies that the above two articles are sufficient to discuss opioids crisis.
Cicero, T. J. (2018). Is a Reduction in Access to Prescription Opioids the Cure for the Current Opioid Crisis? American Journal of Public Health, 108(10), 1322–1323. https://doi-org.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304648
NIDA. (2019). “Opioid Overdose Crisis.” Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis