The opioid crisis


Getting stolen in the supply chain:


Another victory for US healthcare.

Some point to the easy accessibility of opioids as a potential cause of the opioid epidemic. One study published earlier this year suggested that promotional payments from drug companies led doctors to prescribe more opioids to patients. Last year, six states sued pharmaceutical company Purdue for reckless marketing that has help fuel the opioid epidemic.

The study says more than 70,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2017. Additionally, the odds of opioids playing a role in car crashes have risen in recent years, according to the National Safety Council.

By 2025, illicit opioid deaths are expected to increase by 147 percent.


147 percent holy shit that’s a lot. As I said when I started this thread. One of my frustration with American society is we are constantly fighting battles where the problems are getting better and ignoring the ones where it is getting worse. Abortion, illegal immigration and gun violence are three good examples.

Hopefully, by 2025 the opioid crisis will have peaked at which point. I predict this will become the most active thread in P&R and CNN will devote hours of coverage.


Isn’t the root cause of the opioid crisis the underlying depression, underemployment, and lack of hope and fulfillment in middle America? If we just attack opioids, then these people will still be killing themselves with drain cleaner or cheap whiskey, or jumping in front of Amtrak instead.


I think there is some truth to that assessment, but the pharm companies heavily pushed these, lied to and pressured others into taking these knowing fully that the chance of addiction is high. Some patients actually took these for pain, physical injury, and wound up with addiction. The root cause in that case was the injury whether or not latter they fed an addiction that led to those other things.

We still need a plan for current addicts though.


No, the root cause of the opioid crisis is a small number of pharmaceutical companies pushing them uber alles and a small number of prescription writing doctors writing a large share of opioid prescriptions to maximize their daily profit.

There have been powerful narcotics for some time in the health care system, and those were abused at times, but not like on the scale today.

I think you saw this start with Ritalin and the over-diagnosis of ADHD. When the side effects of Ritalin were minor and the potential upside (ie easy money) was high, many doctors were eager to prescribe Ritalin to basically any high school or college student that wanted it. The Feds eventually cracked down, but Ritalin and ADHD diagnosis are still common, if not quite as widespread as before.

It’s pretty easy to convince yourself you’re doing the right thing writing prescriptions day and night since, you tell yourself, they’re going to do anything to get them anyway. And in a town with oil billionaires, the largest house in town (if not the finest) was built by our resident “pain doctor”, and his office is packed with dozens every day. How fortunate for the community we have such a diligent medical professional! I’m sure the three story house, three lots long, is justly earned compared to every other medical professional in the community, and that there is no sense of medical impropriety involved.


I think it is factor but a pretty small one. The suicide rate in the US has increased modestly 24% this century, but we are pretty much right in the middle of all countries. Way below both Japan and South Korea.

But I think @Enidigm is spot on. Mix a highly addictive substance, that’s highly profitable and that’s a recipe for massive number of deaths.


And then when doctors restrict it, those people move onto Heroin. There needs to be some nuance here. Jail doctors and pharma who are doing this for profit. Provide treatment to those in actual pain, and provide good options to those who need to get off the opioids because they ended up abusing them due to pharma/doctor. And I think the companies who make the opioids should be paying for it all.


Yep. Make it cost them, a lot, discourage this kind of crap int he future. In fact, these opiods are still medicine even though they’re abused, so they should be taken away from any company proven to have been part of this scheme and given to another company to make. I’m sure our laws don’t support that, but they should. Pay for the mess, and lose control of the medicine you turned into a weapon.


WTF does the US keep getting compared to “wealthy nations”? Most Americans aren’t wealthy.


We are quite rich as a country. So that’s a perfectly valid comparison. The fact that we let the top 1% keep all the wealth and exploit the other 99% is more of an “us” problem.


The average American is wealthier than the vast majority of humans that exist, or have ever existed.


Holy moly. Any specific causes linked to that worldwide?


I would offer thus: cost of treatment for addiction to opiods, free to those who are in treatment. Cost of that tab distributed to doctors who prescribe opiods in percentages based on their prescription rate per patient.


The average American (if we understand the average American as somebody in the middle of the distribution) is indeed not doing too bad:


(note that I took out the average column, were the US does even much better at 5th position! But, also the US is 10th from the bottom in Median to Mean ratio -one measure of inequality-)

Sorry, this kind of questions always trigger my compulsive data mining instinct :P


That chart lists “wealth per adult”. US households tend to be bigger too.


Bigger, and worse off. Super fun combination.


Going by income alone, it’s arguable whether the US is a first world nation for most people.


Is this sarcasm? I’m not sure if you intend this seriously.

Like, you guys understand what actual poverty is, right? Like, in that list you have a bunch of nations which are all pretty freaking rich and prosperous. The vast, vast, vast majority of the world… doesn’t live in those countries.

Most of humanity trudges along barely surviving. That ain’t how it is in America. If you are in America at all, you are EXTREMELY lucky compared to the vast majority of all the humans who have ever existed on the earth.


See how a huge part of the world is shades of red and orange? That is where real poverty is.


As someone who spent three weeks in Southeast Asia last December, I can assure you that the average American lives a lifestyle that is envied by many, many, many people. The vast majority of people I saw live in the most ramshackle huts. If they were lucky, it was a concrete hut. Even then, we’re talking dirt floors, maybe some electrical cable bolted to the walls for a tiny fridge. A few light bulbs at most.