The United States is dealing with the deadliest drug epidemic it has ever experienced.

Nearly 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, far exceeding the number of deaths from car crashes or guns, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of overdose deaths was 21 percent higher than in 2015, making it the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

The soaring death rate is largely due to a spike in the abuse of opioids —  including heroin and prescription painkillers — which accounted for about two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths. Overdoses become deadly when users fall asleep and their respiratory drive shuts down. In other words, their bodies forget to breathe. Opioid overdoses can also lead to dramatic dips in blood pressure and cause heart failure.

And while certain regions have been hit particularly hard, the epidemic has touched nearly every corner of the country, wreaking havoc among rich and poor communities alike in rural, suburban and urban areas.

Among the more than 64,000 estimated drug overdose deaths in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and synthetic opioids, with over 20,000 overdose deaths. Source: CDC WONDER (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

What are opioids?

Opioids include any drugs that work on opioid receptors, the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.

The term“opioids” refers to the very broad class of highly addictive drugs — both legal and illegal —  that impact the body’s opioid receptors by blocking pain and sparking pleasurable sensations.

Morphine, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin) are all popularly prescribed opioids, often used to treat chronic pain. Heroin, which is derived from morphine, has long been one of the most dangerous and commonly used illegal opioids.  Fentanyl, a synthetic (man-made) opioid that’s  50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, can be medically prescribed to treat severe pain, but it is now being illegally produced and sold on the street at an alarming rate.

There is a wide spectrum of opioid users — many who take prescription drugs responsibly, with the consent of a doctor, to manage pain. However, an estimated 12 million people currently abuse prescription opioids, which means they take them without a prescription or in larger amounts and for longer than prescribed.

How did this become an epidemic?

The U.S. health care industry underwent a gradual shift in the 1980s and 1990s — due in part to a number of influential articles in medical journals — in the way health care providers approached pain management.  Opioids had long been recognized as highly addictive, and were largely used primarily to treat intense pain from cancer and other severe illnesses. But based on a growing consensus that chronic pain was not being treated effectively, health care providers were increasingly expected to more routinely assess their patients’ pain levels.    

This change in approach happened alongside more aggressive marketing tactics by big drug companies in an effort to sell opioid medications for non-cancer-related pain. This fueled a dramatic increase in the number of opioid prescriptions that doctors were giving to their patients. A class of drugs that was almost exclusively reserved for cancer patients was now being prescribed to a much wider group of patients experiencing various forms of chronic pain. In 2010, at the peak of this trend, there were more opioid prescriptions than residents in some counties, particularly in rural areas in the Rust Belt, the South and the Pacific Northwest.

As prescription pills flooded into communities throughout the country, many people got hooked through a steady supply from friends, family members and drug dealers.

Since then, opioid prescription rates have declined, due in part to changes in policy and medical standards. But the overdose death rate has not followed suit. The once abundant supply of prescription opioids has been largely replaced by an influx of rampant abuse of heroin and illegally produced fentanyl, drugs that cost less, produce more intense highs and are much easier to get on the street.

Who is most affected by the crisis?

Opioid addiction is no longer limited to rural areas — new research shows many suburbs and cities are now facing similar opioid abuse rates.

Prescription opioid overdose rates tend to be higher in older adults, while heroin overdose rates are higher in younger populations. And although more men currently die from drug overdoses, women are now dying from prescription opioids and heroin abuse at a rapidly increasing rate.

However, in contrast to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, which hit poor, black, urban communities the hardest, the opioid crisis disproportionately affects white Americans. And many point to this racial divide as a key impetus for the dramatic shift in the way that lawmakers today are addressing the issue.

In the 1980s and 1990s, leaders from both parties waged a “war on drugs” — passing laws that criminalized illicit substances and imposed increasingly strict prison sentences on drug users and dealers. Compare that with the softer approach more commonly taken now , one that focuses on rehabilitation rather than criminalization, as evidenced by President Trump’s recent declaration of the opioid crisis as a “public health emergency.”  

The two maps below compare estimated age-adjusted drug overdose death rates per county in 1999 and 2016, as provided by the CDC. In 1999, the nationwide drug overdose death rate was 6.1 per 100,000 population (just under 17,000 actual deaths). In 2016, it had risen to 19.8 per 100,000 (63,632 deaths), an almost 275 percent increase. Although the crisis reaches across the nation, areas of Appalachia and the Southwest and Northwest have been particularly hard hit.

In the second map, click on individual counties for localized data, including the estimated number of actual deaths. The data includes all drug-related overdose deaths (of which opioids were the cause of about two-thirds). To see county-specific data for 1999 deaths on the second map, deselect “2016 Overdose Deaths” in the lefthand layers window. In the second map, you can also search and zoom in to specific locations by clicking the magnifying  glass button on the bottom left and entering a place name or Zip Code


 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic?

Ending the epidemic is a massive undertaking that by most accounts is just getting started. Opioids, both legal and illegal, remain widely available, and the epidemic continues to claim about 100 lives per day. There is a shortage of affordable drug treatment programs in every state, and the federal government has been slow to allocate money to the crisis.

Ending an opioid addiction is often physically painful and can be incredibly difficult to manage. Until recently, many people believed that effective withdrawal treatment required extended stays in residential treatment facilities, a costly approach that many patients and public health institutions simply can’t afford. It’s also one that commonly focuses on abstinence, a strategy that’s proved to not be consistently effective for long-term recovery

More recent evidence, however, has shown that opioid addiction can often be more successfully treated in non-residential primary care situations, especially with the use of closely monitored medication-assisted treatment options like methadone or buprenorphine — both forms of opioids themselves —  a strategy that’s significantly cheaper and far less disruptive to patients’ lives.

Many health care workers view addiction as a medical condition, not a moral failing or criminal act, Yet possessing illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl still comes with the risk of arrest and jail time. The epidemic won’t end, most experts agree, without also treating the underlying causes that lead people to opioids in the first place, including prevalent mental health issues.

Federal, state and local governments have taken some steps to treat current addicts as well as stanch the flow of opioids into communities.

Public health emergency: Last October, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency,” which gives states more flexibility to use federal funds to fight opioid addiction and boost prevention efforts. However, the latest federal budget calls for only a 1 percent increase in federal funding for all drug prevention efforts, and Trump has yet to appoint a “drug czar” to lead the fight against the epidemic.

New limits on opioid prescriptions: Opioid prescriptions have been declining since 2010. Some states, like New Jersey, have limited the number of opioids that doctors can prescribe. Other states, backed by the Justice Department, have threatened to jail doctors who overprescribe the drugs. The CDC recently released guidelines asking doctors not to prescribe opioids for chronic pain. Despite these efforts, prescription opioids are still widely available. In 2016, there were still enough opioid pills prescribed to fill a bottle for every adult in the U.S.

Cutting off the supply of illegal opioids: In January, Trump signed the INTERDICT Act, which further empowers border patrol and customs officers to detect and stop illegal shipments of fentanyl.

Increased access to anti-overdosing drugs: Walgreens announced last October that it would stock Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse a drug overdose. The spray will be available without an individual prescription in 45 states. CVS offers the spray in 43 states, also prescription-free. Narcan costs about $125 per dose. Its active ingredient is naloxone, which is also available in auto-inject form. But as demand for naloxone has increased, so has its price. The auto-inject format called Evzio now costs thousands of dollars, although price breaks have been negotiated by first responders and insurance companies.

Rachel Roberson contributed to this article.

Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic: How It Started and Where It’s Hitting Hardest 8 February,2018Charu Kukreja

  • TheBigDog

    Jake Lee
    English IV
    Hour/ 3
    2/12/18
    How opioid addiction started and where its hitting the hardest.

    Opioids are a drug that is found in heroin but also in prescription painkillers (Lowdown PP, 2) they account for two- thirds of all drug related deaths. Overdoses become the most violent when the user falls asleep while they are experiencing a state of “high”. Everywhere in the nation is being hit from this crisis but mainly the midwest all the way to the north east sector of the United States of America.(The Video) This epidemic became an issue ironically because of doctors. They would prescribe patients with opioid based pain killers not knowing the harmful effects they had and their patients would get high and become addicted and destroy themselves.(Video) ending an opioid addiction came be very harmful, expensive, and long lasting. There has been more limits introduced on prescribed opioids by professionals, there has been increased border patrol to limit the supply of drugs coming in through our borders.(Article) More things that could be done to limit or cease this dilemma is to end all prescriptions of opioids because there are other painkillers you can use to get better and obviously opioids are very harmful to our bodies and could potentially kill us.

  • Pug Loop

    Opioids are highly addictive drugs that stimulate your opioid receptors. It has become an epidemic because they are so highly prescribed and so addictive. The rate of older adult women dying from over doses is rising rapidly, I would say that they are currently most at risk. Stopping people from taking opioids is very difficult, the best way to slow down the rising rate of overdoses is to limit how much we are letting people use opioids if they need them at all. Another way that we could change the number of people out of 100,000 that are dying is to raise the population of living people in the communities. Let say 30/100,000 people are dying, if you bring in another 100,000 people then there would only be 15/100,000 people that are dying.
    Love,
    Nick Spencer

  • grant howard

    1. what are Opioids?
    Opioids are man made synthetic drugs. they are supposed to be pain killers for medical use only
    2.how did this become an epidemic?
    because of the rapidly growing rate of people abusing these drugs and how easy they are to obtain
    3. who is most effected by this crisis?
    the children of the users are facing the most harm due to undernourishment and no care
    4. what is being done to try and fix this
    the government is putting stronger restrictions on the drugs by making them harder to obtain and making the punishment stronger
    5. what else should be done?
    more restrictions and make it so the doctor prescribing the pills liable too then they wouldnt hand the drugs out so easily.

  • Dominick Murray

    Opioids are an addictive drug that affect your opioid receptors, they block pain and give a pleasurable sensation. Some people are regular users with prescriptions while an estimated 12 million abuse the prescribed opioid prescriptions. This epidemic started with an increase in opioid prescriptions for non-cancer-related pain. There is also an increased amount of chronic illnesses getting prescribed with opioids. As with any drug, the more quantity supplied, the higher amount of people abusing and becoming addicted. The people who are affected most by the prescribed opioids are older adults while heroin overdoses are more prominent in teens. Unlike the crack epidemic in the 80’s, white americans are more affected than poor black urban communities. To help slow the epidemic, there have been new guidelines for the doctors to decrease the amount of opioids prescribed. Two other things that was slowing the epidemic are cutting off the supply of illegal opioids and having an increased ease of access to anti-overdosing drugs. Another thing that could be done is that when medication is made, they should make the drugs more susceptible to expiration. If you get 30 pills and you’re supposed to take one a day for a month. Make them be able to expire and lose their effects after two months.

  • Caitlin St.Clair

    Caitlin St.Clair
    English 3rd Hour

    What are Opioids? Opioids refers to a broad class of highly addictive drugs they can be both legal and illegal. Opioids impact the body’s opioid receptors by blocking pain and sparking pleasurable sensations. Opioids became epidemic in the 1980’s and 90’s that doctors originally only prescribed opioids to cancer patients. But do to studies saying chronic pain was not being treated properly, effectively health professionals were increasingly expected to change to a more routinely pain relief. After they changed over they started to realize in 2010 that opioids were just a way to get their daily fix and most people didn’t need them for the pain and just wanted them for the high. The ones that are most affected by this crisis is white Americans in rural areas. To help slow down the epidemic they have different drug abuse centers all around the United States, and have been limiting the amount of opioids prescribed to the patient. The more we can do to help this crisis the better. I believe they should make all opioids illegal to the public and have a monthly test to see if some people really do in fact need them for the pain or if they are just addicted to them.

  • Ethan Linebarger

    Ethan Linebarger
    3rd Hour English IV
    Mr. Young
    2/12/18

    1. “What are opioids?” Opioids are classified as any drug that responds to our ‘Opioid Receptors:’ proteins in our brain and spinal cord that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.

    2. “How did this become an epidemic?” During the 1980’s and 1990’s, opioids were seen as dangerous and addictive, and as such, were only used to treat cancer and intense pains. However, the health care industry began to receive backlash for not treating chronic pains effectively enough, so the industry had to start supplying opioids more liberally to the general public.

    3. “Who is most affected by this crisis?” The opioid epidemic is particularly prevalent in the Northeastern United States; prescription opioid abuse more often affects the older population while heroin abuse is more typically seen within the younger population.

    4. “What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic?” Ending an opioid addiction is most often physically painful and results in many complications. Drug treatment facilities and other forms of rehabilitation are few and far between, and can be quite disruptive to an addict’s life. However, use of prescription Methadone or Buprenorphine – both forms of opioids themselves – under the supervision of a medical professional has become increasingly popular as a means for treatment.

    5. “What else should be or could be done?” Many new actions are being taken in an effort to diminish the epidemic. President Trump has declared this epidemic a ‘public health emergency,’ and in January, he signed the INTERDICT act, which further empowers border patrol and customs officers to detect and prevent the shipments of illegal Fentanyl. Furthermore, certain states, such as New Jersey, are cutting back on the amount of opioids allowed to be prescribed to any one person, and doctors have even been threatened with jail time for overprescribing the drugs. Finally, a vast majority of the United States is increasing access to anti-addiction drugs, such as the nasal spray Narcan, which can reverse a drug overdose. CVS Pharmacy offers the spray in 43 states with a price tag of $125 per dose, and it is available without a prescription.

    In conclusion, the American opioid epidemic is something that has been declining for some time, and it seems to be on the rise once again. The pharmaceutical industry and lawmakers must do everything in their power to prevent this epidemic from becoming catastrophic.

  • Michael Deady

    Michael Deady
    English IV
    Third Hour

    Opioids are used medically for painkillers, but they’re extremely addictive and abused by the general public. This epidemic started back in the early 1900’s. Doctors were prescribing the newly invented opioids but did not know the effects until later years. By then it was too late users were addicted. Retracting the drugs would only promote the use of harsher drugs and counterfeit pills that may be unsafe. (more so than the ones already in use.)
    “The abuse of prescription drugs is highest among young adults. The past year shows abuse at 6% of 12-17 years olds, 12% of 18-25 year olds, and 5% of persons 26 or older.” (National Institute On Drug Abuse) Why are these drugs so attractive to young adults? Many People do it simply to get high, others believe that these drugs help them study. Even if that’s true 116 people die everyday due to Opioid related overdoses, it’s not worth the risk. (U.S. Department of Health And Human Services)
    If taking away these drugs away will push them towards harsher alternatives what can be done? Currently there are programs across the nation like, Educational initiatives delivered in school and community settings. Drug Monitoring programs, along with aggressive law enforcement. And drug court with rehab centers.
    Opioids Greatly improve the life of millions of sick and injured people. Strict regulations need to be imposed to determine who gets these drugs. And the drug dealers offering illegal alternatives need to be taken care of before the epidemic can effectively be eradicated.

  • Taylor Troxel

    An opiod is a medication that works on any opioid receptor that can be used to help reduce reaction to pain. This can help patients such as cancer survivors. This became an epidemic because different types of opioids can be very addictive and can lead to abuse and cause death. Since many people became addicted many prescriptions filled communities in search of opioids. People became hooked. The people that are most affected by opioid abuse affect many different people in many different communities. Opioid overdose is higher with older adults while heroin is more common with younger people. Although opioids are widely available, people are trying to figure out a way to not have to use opioids in the first place, which can result in these harmful drugs going away. There has been attempts to reduce opioids in states like New Jersey, where there is a limit for doctors to how many opioids they can prescribe. Some things that could be done is have the limit for doctors to prescribe opioids in all states like New Jersey has done already.

  • Olivia Nolff

    KQED: Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic
    Olivia Nolff
    English IV
    2/12/18

    Opioids are a very large class of addictive drugs that spark the body’s opioid receptors by blocking pain. These drugs can be legal or illegal, like morphine and hydrocodone that’s legally prescribed for severe pain and heroin that’s illegally used. Sure, there are people who take these drugs responsibly with a prescription, but the problem right now is how many people are abusing these drugs. This number got so large starting in the 1980’s/1990’s when it because more common for health care providers to check their patient’s pain levels (The Joint Commission). At the same time, opioid companies started marking their drugs to people who didn’t suffer from cancer, but from many different types of chronic pain (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health). As these pills got more and more popular, it became easier and easier to get them from people who had prescriptions or drug dealers. Though opioid prescription rates have gone down, the overdose rate is still very high,
    The people most affected by the high overdose rates depends on age, gender, race, and location. Older adults are overdosing on prescription opioids, while young adults are overdosing more on heroin. Women are also dying at an increasingly rapid rate due to opioids as compared to their male counterparts. Though most drug outbreaks usually affect black communities, this crisis is happening mostly with white Americans (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)- as it is becoming more common in suburbs than rural areas (The Washington Post). Sadly, opioids are still widely available and claim about 100 lives every day as there isn’t many drug programs or state funding for this issue.
    Just last October President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency” (The New York Times), which helps states have more flexibility with their funding, though the federal budget doesn’t supply much. There are also new limits on prescription opioids (Vox). Some doctors have had their prescription numbers cut back and if they overprescribe they face the threat of jail time. Illegal opioids have also been cut off and border patrol officers and customs are allowed to stop illegal shipments of these drugs. Drugs that are less addictive are also being allowed to be stocked more in places like Walgreens.

  • Jayme Seida

    Jayme Seida
    February 12, 2018
    3rd hour

    KQED Opioid Epidemic
    Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for people in the U.S. under the age of 50. This is due to the spike of opioid abuse. Opioids are any drugs that work on the proteins in the brain and spinal cords that control our reaction to pain. Opioids contain a wide spectrum of highly addictive drugs, both illegal and legal. Overdoses become deadly when users fall asleep and their body forgets how to breathe. Many take opioids responsibly with the consent of a doctor, to manage pain. But an estimated 12 million people abuse opioids, by taking them without a prescription or in larger amounts than needed.
    Opioids had been recognized as highly addictive, and were primarily used to treat severe illnesses and intense pain. But health care providers increased more routinely checks on their patients’ pain levels. This approach happened when big drug companies became more aggressive on marketing tactics in an effort to sell opioid medications to people who don’t need it. This caused doctors to give out more opioid prescriptions to their patients. These prescription pills flooded communities and many people got hooked and were getting steady supply from friends, family members, and drug dealers.
    Since this epidemic has spread so fast, opioid addiction is no longer in just rural areas. Studies show that many suburbs and cities are now facing abuse rate increases. Even though more men are currently dying from drug overdose, womens are now dying from prescription opioids abuse at a rapid rate. This opioid epidemic mostly affects white Americans. President Trump addressed this crisis as a “public health emergency.” This epidemic is mostly occurring in the western part of the United States.
    Since opioids can be taken legally and illegally, it is difficult to slow it down because is it often painful and can be incredibly difficult to get people off this drug. Until now, people thought that it was costly to have an effective withdrawal treatment because of the extended stays in residential treatment facilities. But recently opioid addiction can often be treated in non-residential care situations, which far more cheaper and less disruptive to peoples lives.
    I think they should start making it harder to get these prescription drugs. If you really need it then doctors should know it. Doctors should be using this as the last resort. Since there are so many different versions of opioids, it will be very difficult but even if you lower the rate just a little bit, then that will make a big difference.

  • xX-=-Chuckmiester1337-=-Xx

    Chucky Thompson
    Opioids are any drug that gives you a relief in pain or pleasure. Because of the relief in pleasure they are known to be highly addictive. The addictiveness makes some people that started needing them for medical reasons to wanting them to get the “high” feeling. The price of the opioids lead people to other, cheaper drugs such as heroin or cocaine. This affects pretty much everyone however is mostly affected in older adults. Younger people tend to have an overdose rate in heroin. The solution America is working on is to have people take different more cost efficient opioids that are far less lethal. They are also limiting the amount prescribed to people to prevent overdosages. I believe another way to combat this issue is to allow better and free recovery programs that allow people that dont want their issue can solve it without having to spend any money.

  • amy hinmon

    Amy Hinmon
    3rd hour
    2/12/18

    1.What Are Opioids?- Opioids are drugs that include any kind of opioid receptors, the spinal cord and our brains control our pain to pain and pleasure. The opioids help reduce the pain and you may become somewhat “high.” Opioids are considered a very high broad class of addictive drugs says Kukreja in paragraphs 5 and 6.

    2.How did this become an epidemic?- Opioids were primarily used to treat intense pain for cancer and extreme illnesses. Kukreja says “But based on a growing consensus that chronic pain was not being treated effectively, health care providers were increasingly expected to more routinely assess their patients’ pain levels” This changed happened when aggressive marketing tactics by big drug companies were trying to convince them to let them sell these opioid medications for non-cancer related pain. Soon after they let this happen prescription pills flooded communities throughout America.

    3.Who is most affected by the crisis?- Overdose from opioids tend to be higher in older adults while heroin overdoses tend to be higher in younger populations. Kukerja claims in her article under Who is most affected by the crisis, “although more men currently die from drug overdoses, women are now dying from prescription opioids and heroin abuse at a rapidly increasing rate.”

    4.What is being done to slow down the epidemic?- It’s hard to understand because there are opioids that are legal then there are some that are illegal and both still remain widely available and claims about 100 lives a day. There is a shortage of affordable drug treatment programs and the government has been slow in trying to bring money to the crisis. Kukreja says in her 3rd paragraph under What is being done to slow down the epidemic, “Ending an opioid addiction is often physically painful and can be incredibly difficult to manage. Until recently, many people believed that effective withdrawal treatment required extended stays in residential treatment facilities, a costly approach that many patients and public health institutions simply can’t afford.”

    5.What else should be or could be done?- One out of many things that can be done is more money to help people get into treatment programs and to put out a public health emergency, to put limits on prescriptions such as no large amounts and how strong the milligrams are.

  • Grace

    Grace Byron
    Opioid Epidemic
    2/12/18

    KQED
    1) Both legal and illegal highly addictive drugs/painkillers.
    2) With the availability of cheap heroin, over prescribing, and the rise of the drug Fentanyl had a huge impact on the epidemic.
    3) The areas most affected by the crisis are the Northeast like the New York area and such, and the South East, like Florida, southern Georgia, etc, but is no longer considered limited to the rural areas.
    4) The public health emergency plan, new limits on opioid prescriptions, cutting off the supply of illegal opioids, and increased access to anti-overdosing drugs.
    5) I think that what should be done, is that when people go to jail for drug charges like being under the influence or being addicted there should be a rehab program available to them. There should also be more ready and available rehab facilities in general. Also, the overprescription should be taken more seriously and medical professionals should be trained better in the way of prescribing drugs, not prescribing to many and not giving bad/fatal mixes of medication.

  • jessica kuhlman

    Jessica kuhlman

    English IV

    Opioid is a term that describes a drug that is highly addictive. These are drugs that influence “opioid reflectors” and control the pain that we have and the sparks pleasurable sensations. Some examples of opioids are Morphine, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin). Opioid is also found in heroin. These drugs can become very dangerous if the person using them becomes addicted. It can result in death.

    Opioid addiction is not something that should be treated lightly nearly 100 people die every day because of this. In the late 1900’s opioids were used to treat pain and were marketed heavily. It is shown that adults are primarily affected by this epidemic. Opioid addictions have expanded from rural areas to just about everywhere.

    There have been efforts to control this epidemic with the use of closely monitored medication assisted treatment options. There are now limits on opioid prescriptions and have been effort to cut off the supply. Although some of these drugs have been made illegal that does not stop people from getting their hands on them. There could be more policy action, we could also prevent new generations from getting addicted. It would also help to make treatment more accessible.

  • kira honson

    kira honson
    1) What are opioids?
    Drugs that affect the opioid receptors, opioid receptors is what controls the feelings of pain and pleasure. Opioids are originally used to help with chronic pain.
    2) How did this become an epidemic?
    Opioids were always known to be highly addictive, they were used to treat chronic pain of cancer patients and other illnesses. Big name drug companies were pushing for opioids to be prescribed to more than just cancer patients. People who have had chronic pain now were getting the medications, and that’s what released opioids to the communities. Family, friends, and drug dealers spread the pills like wildfire. Opioid prescriptions have been harder to get but now fentanyl and other mock drugs are on the streets.
    3) Who is most affected by the crisis?
    Opioid addiction spread from rural areas to large cities and suburbs, opioids tend to affect older adults and typically men, but the rate at which women are dying from an overdose is rising rapidly. The areas that are being hit the hardest is the northwest and southwest.
    4) What’s being done to slow the epidemic?
    Opioids are widely available, whether their legal or illegal. But opioid addiction can be more successfully treated outside of residential primary care facilities, its much cheaper and helps from interrupting the patients’ lives.
    5) What else should or could be done?
    They should just keep people who have cancer and other severe illnesses on the pain killers, and maybe work on a new, less addictive drug that could help with chronic pain. And the people who continue to overdose should be refused help because they wouldn’t have an addiction or as they call it a “disease” if they wouldn’t have done that stuff in the first place.

  • Sheneila Mangaroo

    What are Opioids?
    Opioids are drugs that pertain to the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.
    How did this become an epidemic?
    It is a very big epidemic because thousands of people started to die because of this overdose problem and it is having an effect on American as a whole. Who is most affected by the crisis?
    Everyone should be affected by this issue, simply because this would not be a good reputation for the American history. If one thousand of us fall then two thousand and so on, and so forth.
    What have they done to try and slow this epidemic?
    Although the drug still exists because there is good to it, costs have changed, and people are being more aware and precauchous of those addicted.
    What else should or could be done?
    Another solution to this problem could be monthly checkups on the patient to keep an eye on their behavior, my last solution would suggest for doctors to be very cautious before giving the patients treatment or to just give a lower dosage then looking for progress increasing the dosage over time.

  • Jacob Hudson

    Drug addiction seems to be the new domestic battle that the government is trying to battle in my lifetime. It started with enforcing a stronger border patrol with Mexico and creating SAFE programs as our state calls it but in all states there are new organizations to battle drug trade in America. One form of those drugs that are being spilled into America are called opioids. These drugs aren’t grown on a leaf and smoked but actually come from chemicals found inside modern medicines that our government funds and supports. As stated in the article Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic: How It Started and Where It’s Hitting Hardest, an opioid is, “…any drugs that work on opioid receptors, the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.” Opioids account for two thirds of the overdose deaths in America. Opioids were first introduced into America as prescription painkillers. These pain meds were originally intended for people in extreme pain and discomfort but as time went on more and more people were being prescribed these meds and they were now flowing through the market but now in the form of heroin. In the face of this crisis the people who are being hit hardest by the epidemic is young white adults between 18 and 25. To battle the epidemic the government is instilling education programs for future generations, providing rehab centers for those who are already addicted and really cracking down on drug laws. In my mind as long as you are putting painkillers into the market that have these drugs in them then you can’t completely get rid of the problem but he government is doing a decent job of trying to get these deadly drugs out of our hands.

  • Parker Burek

    Parker Burek
    English IV
    Mr. Young
    February 12, 2018

    Opioids are a rather new threat against people of all ages in the US, which “claims the lives of around 100 people every day” (The Health 202: There’s a no-brainer way to solve the opioid crisis, The Washington Post). Opioids are any drug, both legal and illegal, that affect the opioid receptors of the human brain. These pharmaceuticals can block pain and cause pleasure. At the end of the twentieth century, healthcare providers were pressured to more effectively assess their patients’ pain, and opioid producing companies advertised opioids for non-cancer patients. Prescription rates were now higher than ever, and friends and family members exchanged these drugs together which made the problem even more widespread. Currently, opioids affect white Americans the most, with heroin causing the being the more popular overdose in young drug users, and pills being the cause for older drug users. The “war on drugs” mentality is slowly being traded in for a more rehabilitation style account for drug users. Last fall, President Trump declared the opioid issue as a “public health emergency”. This encourages federal funds to combat the issue as well as a spark for preventative measures. In some states, there are now consequences for doctors who over prescribe opioids to patients. The Department of Justice started to battle opioids, “…promoting law enforcement attempts to shut down pill mills and arrest the doctors involved.” (Trump’s pathetic response to the opioid epidemic, vox.com). Additionally, President Trump has issued acts preventing drug trade into the US that would prevent illegal opioid purchases, and a new nasal spray has also been introduced that can reverse some overdoses. Since only one percent of federal funding is all that is being increased for preventative efforts for opioid abuse, our government could allocate their resources better for this crisis.

  • Hanna Pátkai

    H.Patkai
    1. What are opioids?
    The proteins in our brains and control our reactions to pain and pleasure.
    For example morphine, methadone, and oxycodone (OxyContin the reason they can’t forbid because these often used to treat chronic pain.
    2. How did this become an epidemic?
    The big problem started when he big drug companies in an effort to sell opioid medications for non-cancer-related pain. After this dramatic increase in the number of opioid prescriptions.
    3. Who is most affected by the crisis?
    Many suburbs and cities are now facing similar opioid abuse rates. Prescription opioid overdose rates tend is more popular in adults. And the heroin is more like teenagers. After 1990 this is started to change. Imposed increasingly strict prison sentences on drug users and dealers which didn’t stoped them, but at least they had les chance to sell drugs.
    4. What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic?
    I think it will be good if they don’t sell opioids for anyone. It should be a big process to get it and they should have more specific reason to get it. More examining before they actually got the drugs.
    5. What else should be or could be done?
    I think the way to not able to find the drugs is not enough. If anyone try to buy drug, it should be someone who talk to before they do it. Psychologist or a pastor. My opinion is it should be a something to solve the problem. Everyone who want to try drug have a background story. Depression, something from the childhood? You have another way to find a better life.

  • Maggie Lesperance

    Maggie Lesperance
    Mr. Young
    3rd Hour
    February 12, 2018
    Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic
    In America, and many other parts of the world as well, opioids can be found just about everywhere. They can be found in a pharmacys or on the street, so just about anyone can access them. Opioid are basically classified as a broad group of drugs that can be highly addictive, legal or illegal, and are there to block pain receptors and cause pleasurable sensations. (Article) This being said, many people who have pain medications for things like arthritis or have pain from being in an accident get addicted to theses drugs very easily. At first opioids were only prescribed to people in severe pain cases such as cancer, but soon doctors began expanding on who was able to receive these drugs and an epidemic started. (Article) It became so easy for people to receive these opioid, whether it was from doctors, family, friends, or if desperate off the streets. Sadly with that being said, the more people got ahold of opioids the more people abused them which led to more people overdosing on them on them. When it comes to opioids, it seems that older white americans tend to be affected most by the opioid epidemic, but many other people are too. (Article) Family and Friends are affected the most I would say, next to the ones using the opioids. When people become addicted they don’t care about anything except for the drug that will get them high. When you see how people change it’s really sad. I know someone who got addicted and to see how they treated their family was heartbreaking. Someone who used to be so dedicated to their family and love them unconditionally now living a life where they could care less what happened to their own daughters and mom because all that was on her mind was “When can I get high next?” They say that they are taking steps to help with opioid problems in the U.S with treatment facilities and such, but in my honest opinion they aren’t doing anything. The big pharma corporations would lose too much money if they brought opioids only to people who really needed them or just flat out found something else that was not as addictive, but held the same benefits. In the end I don’t think there will be a change for the best and I feel we are not doing all we can to fix this epidemic.

  • Heather Dufek

    Something that people ask is what are opioids? According to national institute on drug addiction that state that their definition of opioids is,Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. This addiction became more used since the year 2016. In 2016 64,0000 people died to overdoses on opioids (taken from vox.org). People who are most affected from this crisis would be teenages using drugs such as pot and other illegal substances. There is also people who are using this for medical reason who are effected, this is because they have been using this for so long so since they have been using that it causes you to rely more and more on the drug that has been given to you. One question people ask is how can this slow down of using? And truly that is a hard question it would be very had to change the epidemic that has occured to people. One was to try to lower the dealing of this is catch people who are illegally selling this substance. Yes that is hard but i feel just doing that can help tramendicaly. Something that could be offered is more classes for people struggling with this addiction. I also feel talking to pre teens and high school students would help with help giving them insight on what they could to not get involved.

  • Austin Davidson

    1. Opioids are any drugs that work on opioid receptors, the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.
    2. Opioids had long been recognized as highly addictive, and were largely used primarily to treat intense pain from cancer and other severe illnesses.
    3. Many suburbs and city’s because Opioids are sold there now.
    4. There is a shortage of affordable drug treatment programs in every state, and the federal government has been slow to allocate money to the crisis.
    5. In January, Trump signed the INTERDICT Act, which further empowers border patrol and customs officers to stop illegal shipments of fentanyl.

  • Joel Wilson

    What are opioids?
    Opioids are highly addictive drugs that are illegal unless prescribed, they change the body’s opioid receptors but tolerating pain and they give a sensation of a “high”.
    How did this become and epidemic?
    At first these drugs were mainly prescribed to cancer and other severe illnesses but the pain wasn’t being treated effectively. Then big name drug companies made pushes to sell more opioids to non cancer patients. After this it was prescribed more often which got more people addicted to the drug and relied on it.
    Who is most affected by this crisis?
    Mostly older adults are most affected by this, trends show that older men have died more from drug overdoses but more women are starting to die from prescription overdoses. Regions of the United States that are heavily affected would be the midwest and southeast.
    What’s being done to try and slow the epidemic?
    Some people are being prescribed a different type of opioid to fight the addiction they have right now, under a close monitor with primary care.
    What else should be done or could be done?
    Companies and doctors should be more strict about prescribing these opioids seeing that they are highly addictive and people are dying from them.

  • marcus kerberskey

    opioids are a drug that act upon the opioid receptors stimulating pain and cause a spark in mood. the epidemic began when the big drug companies started over producing the drugs so they began to over prescribe them to patient.people who are affected by a devastating injury are at risk because they need the medication and people who live in very rural areas are more at risk to experience the drugs. the prices of such drugs has dramatically increased, and the idea of such a problem has become more nation wide and obvious. i think that people on the drugs should have to take a test every so often to make sure not too much of them are in there bloodstream.

  • Tyler sobczak

    Tyler Sobczak
    Mr. Young
    6th Hour
    February 12th, 2018

    1. Opioids are a very broad class of drugs that are both illegal and legal, they work on the proteins in our brains and the spinal cords that
    control our reaction to pleasure and pain. Examples would be morphine, methadone, and hydrocodone.

    2. A change in approach by doctors on treating pain management, coupled with aggressive marketing tactics by big drug companies led to an increase in the number of opioid prescriptions that doctors were handing out.

    3. Opioid abuse is no longer associated with just rural areas. Studies show that overdose rates tend to be higher in older adults and heroin overdose rates tend to be higher in younger adults.

    4. The government has taken steps in aiding opioid users as well as trying to slow down the flow of opioid use in communities.

    5. A possible step that could be taken to limit Opioid abuse would be to limit the amount of Opioids, and for what specific reasons a doctor can prescribe them for. Another way would be to make anti overdosing drugs like Narcan more easily available to the public.

  • Gabriel Eggers

    Opioids are usually a powerful painkiller used in cases of extreme headache or used in cancer patients or people with obvious serious pains.
    After a few years or decades they exploded in popularity an swept america off its feet with the patients of the world or people who enjoy being “high” in that case the people who find the good feeling addictive makes them more inspired to return to that feeling in time where all worries are gone and to just enjoy themselves.
    The most people who are affected would be drug users in general usually it starts small and then it progresses into more bigger doses and then to eventually overdoses. But the crowd would usually be younger adults or teenagers the time where kids or young adults tend to just give in to the feeling and eventually create the problem for themselves.
    To slow down the epidemic they are just using treatment programs and creating places for people to go and making commercials to help people get out hole.
    For what we should do is have regular checkups meaning that there should be a 30 day notice or 40 day notice stating you cannot buy anymore till you have used all of your pills or treatment obviously for people in hospitals will be treated ragulary by the nurse or doctor but people who have a take at home description will just have to wait unless you finish it with a week left then you may get a refill.

  • Nathan Emery

    Nathan Emery
    6th Hour
    2-12-18
    1. Opioids are anything drug that work on opioid receptors. Opioids are drugs that are illegal and legal. For example illegal ones are heroin and fentanyl and ones that are prescribed are morphine and methadone.
    2.This became an epidemic because doctors were prescribing more and more pills to people and in some places more people were prescribed than there was people living in some counties. People got addicted to them and friends kept passing them along to others. Drug dealers provided people as well.
    3.The people who are most affected are the white population and also the older generations. They are also showing up in suburbs and cities more now than ever before.
    4.President trump gave more federal funds to help fight the opioid epidemic. Getting more strict on the transfer of illegal drugs into the country from the borders. Also having more limits on prescriptions of opioids. They also make a reversal drug to help stop overdosing that you can buy at walgreens.
    5.There should be more of a push to stop illegal drugs not put more limits on the prescription drugs that are actually needed. Check everyone that comes into the united states not just the people who look suspicious.

  • Nathan Boorsma

    Nathan Boorsma
    6th Young
    Opioids are used for pain relief. They derive from opium plants, and are highly addictive. Heroin Is a form of opium. The main reason this Is becoming an epidemic Is the highly addictive properties of opium. The way opioids work is by sparking opioid receptors In our brains. They give a feeling of being high by tricking your brain into producing dopamine. The most affected by the crisis seems to be rural areas, and suburban cities. Addicts seem to be in a large age group going from teens to older adults. To try and slow the epidemic different pain killers are being produced. Another way to slow the epidemic is we could make it so only certain people can get them such as cancer patients.

  • Michael Hansen

    Opioid Epidemic

    Opioids include any drugs that work on opioid receptors, the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure. Morphine, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin) are all popularly prescribed opioids, often used to treat chronic pain. An estimated 12 million people currently abuse prescription opioids, which means they take them without a prescription or in larger amounts and for longer than prescribed.
    More aggressive marketing tactics by big drug companies in an effort to sell opioid medications for non-cancer-related pain. This fueled a dramatic increase in the number of opioid prescriptions that doctors were giving to their patients.
    Prescription opioid overdose rates tend to be higher in older adults, while heroin overdose rates are higher in younger populations. Women are now dying from prescription opioids and heroin abuse at a rapidly increasing rate. Opioid abuse affects white Americans the most.
    Many people believed that effective withdrawal treatment required extended stays in residential treatment facilities, a costly approach that many patients and public health institutions simply can’t afford. More recent evidence, however, has shown that opioid addiction can often be more successfully treated in non-residential primary care situations, especially with the use of closely monitored medication-assisted treatment options like methadone or buprenorphine — both forms of opioids themselves — a strategy that’s significantly cheaper and far less disruptive to patients’ lives.
    Putting new limits on prescriptions for opioids, cutting off the supply of opioids, and increasing the access of anti-overdose drugs are other ways to help slow the epidemic

  • xayvion bennett

    Xayvion Bennett
    6th hour
    1.Opioids are any drugs that work on opioid receptors which are proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.
    2. big drug companies started aggressively marketing opioids to people for non cancer related pain. known to be highly addictive then drug companies started selling them to non cancer patients.
    3.Prescription opioid overdose rates tend to be higher in older adults, while heroin overdose rates are higher in younger populations. its not just in rural areas it has spread to cities and suburbs.
    4. some states have limited doctors to how much they can prescribe. and actions to keep illegal ones out are being taken. there is also an increases in non overdosing drugs.
    5.they should limit the amount of perscibed opioids a person can get a month and docors should have to have proof from the patient that they need the drug so they dont abuse it.

  • Preston Schornick

    Preston Schornick
    February 12, 2018
    Mr. Young
    EnglishIV
    6th hour

    Opioids are any drug that work on the opioid receptors which are the proteins in our brain and spinal cord that control our reactions to pain and pleasure.
    This became an epidemic in the 1980’s and the 1990’s when health care providers treated most high level pain instiances with opioids.
    Adults are most commonly to overdose on opioids. More men die from overdose of Opioids than women do, however prescription Opioids overdose numbers are increasing in women.
    What is being done to slow the epidemic is health care providers are using closely monitored medication- assisted treatment options like like methadone or buprenorphine.
    Things that could be done are limits on Opioid prescriptions, and cutting off they supply to illegal Opioids.

  • Emily Elizabeth

    Emily HIbbler
    Mr.Young
    English IV
    2/12/18
    6th hour

    1. Opioids are a class of drugs that include any drugs that work on opioid receptors. Opioids refer to the broad class of highly addictive drugs and some of these drugs can be illegal and legal. As stated in the KQED Lowdown, “Morphine, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin) are all popularly prescribed opioids, often used to treat chronic pain.” There are many people that take these types of drugs and get very addicted to them and then there are some people that take these pills that don’t get addicted to the pills.

    2.Opioids had long been recognized as highly addictive and were largely used to treat pain from cancer and illnesses. Chronic pain was not being treated effectively. The change happened more in aggressive marketing tactics with drug companies that were trying to sell opioids for noncancer pains and illnesses.

    3. As stated in a Washington Post article “Many people associate the prescription opioid epidemic with rural America, where “hillbilly heroin,” as OxyContin is sometimes called, has claimed many lives. But new research shows that opioid misuse and addiction are now as prevalent in urban areas and suburbs as they are in rural ones.” Overdose rates tend to be higher in adults and heroin in are higher in younger generations. In the 1980’s crack cocaine hit poor,black and urban areas the hardest.

    4.This epidemic takes about 100 lives per day. There are shortages for affordable drug treatment programs and the government has been slow about dealing with this crisis. Ending addiction is is physically and mentally painful and difficult to manage. People believe that withdrawal treatment is required in extended treatment facilities and that the cost is hard for patients and institutions can’t afford.

    5. Things that could be done to stop and help people stop getting addicted are to put limitations on prescriptions,cut off the supply of illegal opioids,increase the access to anti-overdosing drugs. Start drug addiction groups, have people talk about how they got started into the drugs and possibly have them tell how or why they wanted to continue with the drugs.

  • Katie Coveyou

    Opioids are drugs that trigger the opioid receptors in your brain to numb your pain or cause your brain to go into the state of being high. Opioid drugs where originally created for people who need them for medical purposes only to get through every day life. But today they are being sold and created both legally and illegally. They are a highly addictive substance because they get people high. Opioids because an epidemic because the dealers of these drugs experienced a dramatic shift in declining profits beginning in the 80’s and 90’s. Medical experts started to realize that the drugs they were prescribing to their patients were not treating their pain or illnesses effectively because of this doctors began to be more thorough when assessing their patients pain levels. Due to less medical opioid drug use, large drug companies began to aggressively market non medicinal opioids to stay in business. People everywhere are being affected by this opioid abuse crisis. People that are getting addicted come from all locations whether its the city, country or suburbs. Prescribed opioid addiction rates is a lot more commonly seen in adults, whereas non prescribed opioid abuse like heroin, is more common in the younger generation. The government has been remarkably slow at trying to end the crisis. In most states there is a high shortage of affordable drug treatment programs. even if they may be going at a slow pace, federal, state and local governments have at least put forth a little bit of effort to try and treat current addicts as well as stanch the flow of opioids into communities. But of course more could be done. The government should be on top of this crisis. They need to install more rehab facilities and drug treatment programs that are affordable to the public in every state and they need to be cracking down on illegal opioid dealers, sellers and users like pronto because unlike the governments slow prevention time, the opioid epidemic is rapidly growing and they need to hop to it a lot faster than they are right now.

  • Makela Hoolihan

    1.What are opioids? Opiods include any drugs like heroin,Morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, and Oxycontin that work on opioid receptors, they mess with the proteins in our brains and spinal cords that control our reactions
    2.How did this become an epidemic? Because the pain people were having wasnt being treated properly so the doctors proscribed them an opioid
    3. Who is most affected by the crisis? In Heroin users it affects the younger population, while Prescription opioid overdose rates is higher in older adults.
    4.What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic? By limiting the proscribed opoids and doctors see addiction as a medical condiction so they help by proscribing them insted of having the person buy it illegally
    5.What else should be done or could be done? I think what should be done is that doctors help the people personally and the govt tried harder to get drugs off the street
    By makela hoolihan
    Mr young
    6th hour 2-12-18

  • Travis crouch

    Opioid Epidemic
    Opioids are very powerful painkillers that are highly addictive. They have been used for a very long time. When they first came out, they weren’t very popular. But after a few years, they exploded in popularity.
    This became an epidemic when people were getting a tolerance against them and started to use them for recreation and just used them to get high, all because they liked the way that it made them feel. It took people a long time just to find out that people were depending on them for everyday use.
    The people most affected by the crisis, are older people and women for the most part. Women have had very bad health issues while pregnant and so do their children after birth. The older people are being largely affected because their immune systems are slowly depleting and their bodies start to depend on them for comfort.
    To slow the epidemic down, many people are taking action. President Trump for example has commissioned a group of people to figure out the problem. They have spent many hours upon hours researching the problem. They had to start with how it started, then they had to test how to get rid of the addiction. They have started to give people “Methadone”(KQED Article), which is yet another opioid to reduce the need to take away the need to take the opioid that the patient is currently using. In sense, you will no longer have to take the current amount of the drug to get the same result. This will reduce your systems need of the painkiller less everyday. But the problem with that is that Methadone is also addictive and there are many side effects. So once you get off one drug, you will simply start to depend on another, which also has health risks.
    Other things have been done to get rid of the problem such as slowing down and trying to stop the use of these addictive drugs. The President has been trying to stop the supply and use of illegal opioids by arresting the dealers and destroying the products. Also there have been anti-overdosing drugs that were created to lean your system off of the drug. Basically it will stop your system to overworking itself if it is feeling a need for more opioids.

  • Megan Joppie

    Megan Joppie
    2/12/18
    Mr. Young
    6th Hour
    KQED – Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic
    1. What are Opioids?
    Opioids are known as any drug that works on the proteins in our brains and spinal cords to control our reactions to pain and pleasure. Although, the term is best described as the very broad class of highly addictive drugs that impact the body’s opioid receptors by blocking pain and allowing us to feel pleasurable sensations. These drugs can either be legal or illegal.

    2. How did this become an epidemic?
    Opioids were recognized as highly addictive, and used to treat patients with intense, severe pain from cancer and other severe illnesses, but many agreed that chronic pain was not being treated correctly. Health care providers were then expected to evaluate their patients’ pain levels more frequently, which dramatically increased the number of opioid prescriptions that doctors were giving to patients. Drugs that were almost all reserved for cancer patients were now being prescribed to a much wider group of people who were experiencing other forms of chronic pain. As prescription pills took over communities throughout the country, many people got hooked through a supply from friends, family members and drug dealers.

    3. Who is most affected by the crisis?
    Opioid addiction is not limited to just rural areas, but also suburbs and cities. Also, more men currently die from drug overdoses, but women are also dying from prescription opioids and heroin abuse at an increasing rate.

    4. What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic?
    Ending an opioid addiction is both physically painful and incredibly difficult to manage because of how many people believed that withdrawal treatment needed to be completed in residential facilities. This stopped most because of how costly and ineffective the treatments are. Although, last October President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency.” This gave states more flexibility to use federal funds to fight opioid addiction and increase prevention efforts. Also, Walgreens announced last October that it would begin stocking Narcan – a nasal spray that can reverse a drug overdose, does not require a prescription and costs abou $125 per dose.

    5. What else should be or could be done?
    Opioids should be severely restricted to those who have been diagnosed with cancer or any case of severe pain. The first mistake in this whole epidemic was broadening the requirements to be prescribed for opioids. Also, before refilling the prescription, the patient should be diagnosed again to make sure that the symptoms are real and severe enough for a refill.

  • Blake Diemond

    Blake Diemond
    English IV
    6th Hour Young
    February 12th, 2018
    What are opioids? Drugs that work on our opioid receptors, that are located in our brains and spinal cords. These drugs are highly addictive, and can be legal or illegal. The opioids block the pain from getting to the receptors; the opioids instead spark a pleasurable sensation.
    How did this become an epidemic? In the 1980’s and 90’s opioids were used to treat intense pain, such as severe illnesses and cancer. There was a growing consensus that chronic pain wasn’t being treated effectively, so health care providers were expected to check on the pain level of their patients more often. This led to doctors prescriptions of opioids skyrocketing.
    Who is most affected by the crisis? Those affected most by this epidemic live in cities, rural areas, and suburbs. The younger population deals with more heroin overdoses, while the older population deals with more opioid prescription overdoses. More men are currently dying from overdoses, the number of women dying from overdoses is increasing dramatically. The race affected most by this epidemic is the caucasian Americans.
    What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic? At the moment there isn’t an effective solution to this crisis. Until recently most people have been in residential treatment facilities to go through the proper withdrawal procedure. It has been shown most recently that opioid addiction has been treated better in non-residential situations; with the use of closely monitored medication assisted treatment options.
    What else should be or could be done? They should attempt to create more non-addictive alternatives to opioids. Try more physical therapy that is covered by insurance providers. Try organic remedies for treating pain.

  • Sarah Clancy

    Sarah Clancy
    English IIII
    Mr. Young
    12 February 2018

    What are opioids?
    “The term “opioids” refers to the very broad class of highly addictive drugs — both legal and illegal — that impact the body’s opioid receptors by blocking pain and sparking pleasurable sensations” An opioid is highly addictive drug and can include anything from Morphine to Heroin or even Fentanyl. Fentanyl is arguably the worst one and is being sold on the streets at a frightening rate. (paragraph 5 & 6)

    How did this become an Epidemic?
    “Opioids had long been recognized as highly addictive, and were largely used primarily to treat intense pain from cancer and other severe illnesses. But based on a growing consensus that chronic pain was not being treated effectively, health care providers were increasingly expected to more routinely assess their patients’ pain levels.” (paragraph 8 & 9) Opioids were originally reserved for cancer patients but it was now being prescribed to non cancer patients that were still in pain and they believed that it would help. Well no, because in 2010 they were more prescriptions for opioids than residents in the country. But since then the once large amount of prescriptions for opioids is now a rampant abuse of heroin and everything is becoming easier to get on the street.

    Who is the most affected by the crisis?
    “Prescription opioid overdose rates tend to be higher in older adults, while heroin overdose rates are higher in younger populations. And although more men currently die from drug overdoses, women are now dying from prescription opioids and heroin abuse at a rapidly increasing rate.” (paragraph 13) The addiction is most occuring in white Americans.

    What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic?
    “Ending an opioid addiction is often physically painful and can be incredibly difficult to manage. Until recently, many people believed that effective withdrawal treatment required extended stays in residential treatment facilities” (paragraph 19) Also, some people are being prescribed something different to fight the addiction.

    What else should or could be done?
    We could increase the access to anti-overdosing drugs, somehow cut off the supply of illegal opioids (that’s going to take lots of time), and people can be prescribed something different.

  • nick hogard

    Nick Hogard
    February 12th, 2018
    Mr. Young
    6th Hour

    KQED: Inside America’s Devastating Opioid Epidemic: How It Started and Where It’s Hitting Hardest

    What are opioids? Opioids are any drug that controls our reaction to pain and pleasure. They are very addictive and very harmful if used improperly. Over twelve million of opioid users abuse them without a prescription.

    How did this become an epidemic? It started out only to treat cancer patients and severe pain illnesses. Big drug companies then wanted to widen out the usage of opioids to non-cancer related pain. There were more prescriptions than residents in some counties.

    Who is most affected by the crisis? The most affected are by older adults. Most common in men but women are starting to use it more often and are overdosing on it at an increasing rate.

    What’s being done to try to slow the epidemic? They have claimed that they are getting started to end this, but it will be very difficult because there are legal and illegal opioids. It is said that ending an addiction is very painful, but with withdrawal treatment it can be done. The epidemic will not end, without treating the cause that lead people to opioids in the first place. They now have limits to prescription, cutting off the supply of illegal opioids, and have increased access to none-overdosing drugs.

  • Jack Paulsen

    Opioids are any drug that affects the opioid receptors, which are the proteins in our brain and spinal cord that controls reactions to pain and pleasure. Opioids where mostly used for severe pain but pharmaceutical companies started trying to get them prescribed to non cancer related ailments. This caused a drastic increase in opioid prescribed patience. 19.8 percent of the population overdoses. Opioids affect white americans the most and tend to be older adults. There are now new limits on opioid prescriptions, missions to cut the opioid illegal drug supply, and access to anti overdose drugs.

Author

Charu Kukreja

Charu is a writer, designer & urban planner based in Los Angeles, CA

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor