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What You Need to Know About the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The “opioid epidemic” is how people have begun to reference the increase in opioid prescriptions and increase in opioid addiction across the country.

Prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Opioids are a type of medication used to fight pain, such as oxycodone; however, these prescription drugs and synthetic versions of them resemble or are descended from other opiates, such as morphine and heroin. Opiates are highly addictive but have been used because of their potency and availability.

While doctors might prescribe an opioid to help with pain management, they can’t guarantee the patient won’t abuse the medication or become addicted. These drugs can cause feelings of euphoria, which people find incredibly appealing and addictive. Likewise, ceasing to use opioids can sometimes create withdrawal symptoms.

South Carolina’s governor declared a statewide public health emergency on December 18, 2017, in response to the rising death toll caused by opioid abuse in the state. Other senators urged Congress to provide funding to fight the opioid epidemic as the Republican-majority body tires to pass a tax reform bill before the end of the day on December 22, 2017.

While more awareness has been raised regarding the issue, there has been little collective effort on the part of federal and state governments alike to deal with it. Doctors continue to overprescribe addictive medication because they believe there are few alternative treatments.

Pharmaceutical companies also continue to produce these same defective medications rather than developing new, less addictive versions because maintaining the status quo is earning them more business. Over the last 20 years, big pharmaceutical giants have paved the way for opioids to become the go-to pain treatment medication by using a wide range of marketing and advertising strategies. For example, in the 1990s, Purdue Pharma lied by claiming OxyContin was a non-addictive drug suitable for treating almost any type of pain system. However, OxyContin is a powerful opioid drug capable of delivering a powerful high.

If you have been harmed by irresponsible prescription or defective drugs, talk to one of our skilled Denver defective drug attorneys.

Call us at (888) 711-5947 for a free consultation today!

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