The United States of America has always set an example as an advanced nation that others can look up to in terms of technological advancement and living standards for its citizens. But, there’s a darker side that not many people from the outside world know exists in the country. That dark side is the opioid crisis.
Many experts have called it the worst epidemic to have ever hit the country. While others think that the situation is going from bad to worse. The fact of the matter is that country is amidst a crisis which is more serious than is really understood, or even reported on in the media.
Some shocking figures
As an example of the gravity of the situation and the seriousness of the issue, here are some numbers:
- In the year 2015, there were more than 250 million prescriptions for opioid drugs, making it a $10 billion industry, far more than any other country in the world.
- But at the same time, the number of people dying due to opioid overuse, a class of drug that is also used in a number of legal painkillers, has risen more than four times since 1999 (according to the White House Commission).
- If we take a look at the number of deaths by opioid overuse in the year 2015, it accounted for more than 33,000 people.
Looking at these figures it is quite evident that the country is amidst a huge drug overuse battle.
Even worse is the fact that according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only one in four people with an opioid problem actually gets the treatment for it.
Battling out the problem
As serious as the problem might seem, the only way to battle it out is to spread the word. While opioid use is considered as an addiction, there is a ray of hope. This comes from the fact that opioid drug overuse does not always have to be fatal. If detected early, it can be treated. In fact, the drug Naloxone is known to block the effects of opioids on brain. It is used a nasal spray and can save the lives of people who are suffering from opioid addiction. It is available throughout the country, as a prescription drug, but attempts are being made to make it more available.
The biggest challenge faced by people battling from the addiction is the fact that the drugs, like Naloxone, are often too costly to afford. This is the reason that far more dangerous, and illegal drugs, seem like a cheaper option when compared to the prescription medication.
Naloxone, for instance, ranges somewhere around $4500 (auto-injector formulation). This pricing puts it out of reach for most people, which is exactly what ensures people remain addicted, or that they resort to more nefarious drugs like methamphetamine.
Amidst all this chaos and adversity, there is need for people to stand up and make others aware of the harms that opioid drug overuse brings so that this crisis can be brought to end.