Opioid Addiction

Is the crisis abating?


Since President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017, progress has been mixed. The latest data indicate overall opioid use has fallen, but fentanyl overdose deaths have continued to rise and heroin abuse is running rampant. In the past 18 months, the Trump administration has vowed to punish drug dealers and target pharmaceutical companies for their role in the deadliest drug overdose crisis in U.S. history. The Drug Enforcement Administration reported that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills were distributed in the United States from 2006 to 2012. The federal government and some states have sued companies that make or sell opioids, alleging the companies misled the public about the addictive qualities of opioids, as well as doctors accused of overprescribing the painkillers, but only a few cases have been settled to date. Experts remain divided on the causes of opioid abuse and on potential solutions. Patients who suffer from chronic pain, meanwhile, complain that the crackdown on opioids has made it harder for them to get relief.

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