Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

David Thomas, Ph.D., health scientist administrator with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), was a pain and opioid researcher for 12 years before joining the NIDA. Regarding the opioid epidemic, Thomas said, “The rate of death from prescription opiates has been exponentially growing. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many lives are wrecked because of prescription opiates. It’s a huge problem.” About the opioid epidemic that has taken the U.S. by storm since the mid-1990s, the CDC says:4,5

More than 11 million Americans abused prescription opioid medications during 2016
From 1999 to 2016, more than 630,000 people died as a result of a drug overdose
About two-thirds of the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved an opioid
The number of overdose deaths involving opioids was five times higher in 2016 than it was in 1999
Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death among Americans under age 50
About the issues related to opioids, Kolodny asserts, “The reason the U.S. is in the midst of a severe epidemic of opioid addiction is because the medical community began to prescribe opioids very aggressively. And as the prescriptions went up, rates of addiction and overdose deaths went up right along with the increase in prescribing.”

Prior to the release of the documentary, Kolodny told The New York Times, “We have roughly two groups of Americans that are getting addicted … an older group that is overdosing on pain medicine, and … a younger group that is overdosing on black market opioids.”7

via Dr Mercola Understanding the Opioid Epidemic