The Pain that Opioids Inflict


Connor Bailey

As of last year, 70,000 people have died from overdosing on opioids and many more have become addicted to related products and the problem does not seem to be stopping anytime soon.
The opioid epidemic has been a problem since the 1990s when pharmaceutical companies would prescribe pain killers and other related products at greater doses than needed. Because of these prescriptions, those on the medication would become addicted and
seek out more pills to satisfy their addiction.
This practice of allowing patients to receive greater doses of an addictive substance has resulted in 11.4 million people misusing the meditation containing opioids as a means for feeding their addition rather than to relieve pain. Roughly 8 to 12 percent of recipients develop an opioid addiction.
The misuse of both
prescription and
non-prescription opioids often leads people to seek out more accessible substances like heroin to feed their addiction. This has resulted in 886,000 people using heroin and 15,482 overdosing from it.
Andrew Chim, a guided study major from Warminster, said that companies should stop selling so many opioids.
“The number of opioids and pain killers that are made on a daily basis and distributed to the general populous is frightening,” Chim explained. “If less of the drugs are made and prescribed, and the drugs are only given to people who really need them, maybe less people will become addicted.”
An estimated 130 people die everyday because of opioid overdoses with the sharpest
increase of death rates occurring in 2017 with 28,400 people
dying while overdosing on
fentanyl alone.
Tom Hoelzel, a computer science major from Warminster, described the opioid epidemic as heart-breaking.
“It’s awful to know that
people are accidentally
becoming addicted to these drugs,” said Hoelzel. “One
minute you’re taking pain
medication after
surgery, and the next minute you’re highly addicted.”
Monica Lotreane, a physical therapy major, thinks that more needs to be done for those
“Addiction to painkillers are becoming such a huge problem in America, and I really don’t think people are doing enough,” said Lotreane. “Maybe there could be more programs or
support groups to help people going through addiction.”
In 2017, the Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and announced a five-point strategy to help combat the epidemic.
The points improved access to treatment centers,
promote overdose-reversing drugs, strengthen understanding of the epidemic through improved health surveillance, provide support for research
on pain and addiction, and
advance better practices for
pain management.
The National Institution of Health (NIH), a component of the HHS, also is working to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid misuse, and manage pain without resorting to opioids while meeting with pharmaceutical to discuss these issues.
In April 2018, Francis S. Collins, the Director of the NIH, announced the launch of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative. It’s an aggressive, trans-agency effort to find swift scientific solution to stem the crisis.