It is no secret that the opioid crisis in the United States has been building since the late 1990s. According to CDC, opioids have become the primary prescription drug causing overdose deaths in the country. The National Safety Council further reports that your chances of succumbing to opioid overdose are now much higher than those of dying from a motor vehicle accident.
Fortunately, public awareness of the menace has grown dramatically in the past few years, and the right steps are being taken to address the epidemic. Several acts, including the Opioid Crisis Response Act, have been formulated to curb the problem and help the millions of Americans suffering from opioid addiction to recover.
Understanding the Opioids Crisis
The opioid crisis stems from the increasing number of people developing a dependence on synthetic and non-synthetic opioid medication and the corresponding deaths resulting from overdose. In fact, the number of people dying from opioids overdose has risen to epidemic proportions throughout the country.
Opioids are a family of prescription medications that have been commonly used to ease chronic pain. While opioids can be used to treat chronic pain when prescribed by a qualified doctor, their addictive nature has caused many patients to develop dependence and continue to use them excessively even when they no longer need them.
The problem began in the late 1990s when leading drug manufacturers and distributors started marketing opioids as the miracle solution to chronic pain issues without highlighting the addictive side of the drugs.
The Genesis of the Crisis
As mentioned above, the genesis of the opioids crisis in the country can be traced back to the late 1990s. Something quite interesting happened around this time.
With the increasing number of Americans reporting chronic pain, doctors and pharmaceutical companies researched and recommended opioids as the most viable solution to the problem.
Both of them insisted that opioids did not pose any significant health risk to patients. The prescription of opioids to patients with chronic pain started to rise dramatically.
As the number of prescriptions skyrocketed, the number of opioid-related deaths per year started to rise steadily, with the most prescribed opioids such as methadone being the primary cause of these deaths.
However, the prescription didn’t stop, and those who were not dying were instead developing a dependence on the medication. Those who became addicted to the drugs developed tolerance and needed an overdose to satisfy their addiction.
Evidence also shows that in the absence of opioids, the addicts turn to other illegal substances such as heroin and opium.
What Is Being Done to Fight the Crisis?
To curb the misuse of opioids and help fight the epidemic, the CDC has developed thorough guidelines regarding the prescription of opioids to treat chronic pain.
Although opioids yield better results and the treatment can still be safe if controlled, the CDC encourages medical professionals to consider non-opioid treatments first. Opioid treatment should only be recommended following a careful and successful assessment followed by regular evaluations.
The US Department of Health & Human Services has also developed a wide range of strategies, including delivering more accessible treatment center options, increasing public surveillance, and awareness to help individuals understand the dangers of opioid dependence. The department is also funding research on safe pain treatment methods.
By encouraging medical professionals to focus on alternative ways of treating or managing pain, government agencies and healthcare providers hope to see a significant drop in opioid dependence.
On the other hand, opioid lawsuit attorneys are helping states, local governments, and victims of opioid misinformation hold drug manufacturers and distributors financially responsible for wrongful deaths, addiction, and public health costs. The lawsuits are meant to put pressure on all drug manufacturers and distributors to act responsibly and play their role in ending the crisis.
Recent FDA Regulations
In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration announced a wide range of changes in policy and regulations aimed at reducing the epidemic further. The regulations included:
- Updated guidance to promote the development of non-opioid treatment of chronic pain.
- Mandated short-term packaging for outpatient dispensing of specific medications.
- Strengthened the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy designed to guide transmucosal fentanyl medication.
- Made it mandatory for all parties involved in managing supply chains to track and trace all opioid medications in the country.
PS: While there is much that still needs to be done to increase overall public safety and end the opioid epidemic, encouraging steps are already being taken to regulate the use of opioids in the country. There is also a genuine effort to provide support to those who are already suffering from opioid addiction.
Have You or Your Loved One Been Affected? Join an Opioid Lawsuit Today!
Our team of experienced opioid lawsuit attorneys is working to combat the opioid crisis by representing states, cities, municipalities, and individual victims against drug manufacturers and distributors who played a role in causing the epidemic.
The courts are ruling in favor of victims and awarding massive compensation to cities, states, municipalities, and individual victims. Therefore, if you or your loved one has been affected by the crisis, it is highly recommended you join one of the opioid lawsuits.
Contact us today and let us help you fight for your rights, so you receive the rightful compensation you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence; we are here for you!