The opioid crisis in the United States is a growing epidemic that must not be ignored. The addictive nature of prescription opioids has led to an overwhelming amount of overdose deaths in the last few years. The shocking statistics of opioid and substitute drug deaths begs the question, “What needs to be done to address the opioid crisis in the United States?” Due to the nature of addiction, which affects more than just the addicted individual, the solution to the crisis must be multi-sided. Some would argue to simply let abusers die of an overdose, or to be incarcerated for their actions. The disciplinary action is part of recovery, the resolution must consider or introduce the following concerns:
1. Why opioids are prescribed and the emotional fortitude of the abuser and their family,
2. Programs designed to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs.
3. Fair disciplinary actions against the user/prescriber, and/or dealer.
Opioids have been available for some time, so why are we now seeing a tremendous increase in opioid misuse and deaths? Various opioids have been available for more than a century, and opioid misuse didn’t occur during that time. Following the Civil War, veterans who suffered severe injuries were given morphine for pain relief. In the past, opioid medications were prescribed primarily for acute pain due to injury or surgery or severe pain related to cancer or terminal illness. Opioid prescribing began to increase from 1990 to 1995, prescriptions for opioids increased by 2 million to 3 million each year. In 1998, the pharmaceutical company’s began aggressively marketing the drug for the treatment of chronic pain, particularly to primary care physicians. With both the push for treatment of chronic pain with opioids and the promotion by pharmaceutical companies that the new opioids were safe for use in chronic pain, the number of opioid prescriptions increased from 2 million to 3 million a year in 1990 to 8 mill...