Opioid epidemic USA

I listened to a USA radio show this morning.. talking about the recent ‘Opioid epidemic’ in USA; It seems that since 2011, the number of addicts & opioid deaths has massively spiked. They explained, the main reasons being:

1) the advent of ‘Oxycontin’ & similar products, has seen ‘big pharma’ promoting their products, as ‘general painkillers’ rather than a response to severe pain. Many patients are prescribed/taking these drugs, for back pain & sore joints etc.

2) doctors have reportedly, massively increased the number of prescriptions to these drugs. When once they had prescribed ‘gentler’/less addictive alternative medicines.. eg paracetamol etc.

3) many patients have become addicted & when the supply is completed/cut off, they turn to ‘street drugs’; Heroin etc.

4) ‘Street heroin’ is increasingly testing positive for these ‘big pharma’ Opioids, rather than actual Heroin

5) a new ‘big pharma’ product; ‘Fentanyl’ is being often added to street heroin. This drug is reportedly much stronger than other opioids. The result being, that users are overdosing, thinking they were injecting Heroin or Oxycontin etc.

* I think that this just shows that these ‘big pharma’ companies are increasingly ‘Profit driven’, promoting these very powerful drugs as a safe & mild general-use painkiller. This is now, increasingly being challenged by the medical profession (who have been prescribing them in record numbers) & turning a large percentage of the population into ‘big pharma junkies‘.
Instead they could, cut out the fear-mongering around cannabis & look at this more broadly.

I also hear that here in Aotearoa/NZ, doctors are also moving in a similar direction, with the sense that ‘Class A opioids’ are safer & more acceptable than cannabis & less addictive alternatives.

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