Recently there has been a decrease in deaths associated with heroin and an increase in the deaths associated with synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has similar effects to heroin but can be prescribed for severe pain. Much of the fentanyl found in the street is not produced pharmaceutically but illicitly.
The United States has outpaced all other nations and opioid prescription use which has contributed to the current opioid crisis. Despite its low opioid prescription rate, the state of Massachusetts still has one of the highest death tolls associated with opioid use. Of all the counties in Massachusetts, Middlesex county (the county I live in) ranks highest in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths.
There are many factors that have contributed to the opioid crisis but in my opinion, I believe that big pharma is to blame. It is their responsibility to create safe drugs but to also to inform prescribers of the side effects and impact that the drug can have. It was this misinformation that prompted physicians to over prescribe opioids they believed were safe without a plan in place to prevent addiction.
The main goal should be to work on ways to prevent more deaths related to opioid misuse. This could be through earlier education of addiction, by making more detox centers readily available, and creating a doctor-patient plan to help patients safely transition from opioids There should also be new laws and punishments put in place to prevent big pharma from contributing to another crisis such as this.
I found this topic important to me because I live in the county with the most deaths due to opioid related deaths. I do not think that people should be dying from opioid uses because it should be preventable. If big pharma was more cautious and cared less about money, the crisis would not be as bad as it is right now. Other countries do not have as much of a problem with opioids as the US does. Over prescription by doctors was not their fault because they were given false information. People should not be dying or suffering from substances that are supposed to help make life easier.