American Drug Overdoses Hit Record High (Source thetrumpet.com) Last year, drugs killed more Americans than the Vietnam War. Powerful painkillers such as fentanyl are contributing to a drug-overdose epidemic in the United States, according to a report released on October 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report specifically details how fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids on the market, considered 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. It was responsible for over half of the approximately 20,000 opioid overdoses in America last year, yet is easily and legally obtainable with a prescription.
Drug abuse is rapidly growing to become one of the deadliest problems in this country. Overdosing has already outpaced deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes, suicide and homicide. Now, the White House is declaring opioid addiction to be a “public health emergency.”
An opioid is any chemical compound that affects opioid receptors in the brain. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are engineered to mimic the effects of opiates, which are drugs derived from the dried latex of poppy flowers. Due to the ability of opioids to numb the sensation of pain, they are what manufacturers use to produce such pain-killing drugs as morphine, oxycodone and codeine.
Beginning in the late 1990s, doctors began prescribing painkillers to their patients with increasing frequency. Due to deliberate misrepresentation by drug companies, many people were unaware that the pills they were taking were forming addictive habits in their brains.
In the decades since this trend began, painkillers have become a fixture in society, with access becoming more and more readily available.
An independent review looking into the potential side effects of heavy opioid use has found that not only is this drug addictive but it also has other negative effects. They concluded that prolonged use of opioids can produce “profound analgesia” and “mood changes,” indicating effects both physical and psychological.
However, it is the addictive qualities that truly make these drugs dangerous. Ignorant of the addictive nature of their prescription, many have fallen for the promise of quick relief from discomfort. While stifling their pain on prescription meds, thousands of people are forming chemical dependencies. Once the cause of their pain has ended, the effects of the drugs linger. Unable to access the more powerful painkillers, many are abusing over-the-counter medication. Some even follow the path of addiction to street drugs like heroin, which produce the same euphoria-inducing high, only with much more severe side effects.