We have a serious opioid epidemic in our country and I blame this on the pharmaceutical industry.
Spending on prescription drugs is higher in the US, per capita, than in any other country in the world. The pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever they want for a drug based on what they think the demand for that drug is. There is nothing regulating this. There are no specific regulations in place to keep drug prices fair.
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This increased prescription rate has led to a widespread misuse of both prescribed and non-prescribed opioids.
In 2016 we lost approximately 64,000 lives in the U.S. to opioid overdoses. This is roughly the same amount of lives that were lost in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Every day 116 people die because of this. It is expected that we will see another 500,000 people in the next decade lose their lives to opioids. This is terrifying and unacceptable.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 75% of those who enter a treatment program for a heroin addiction took their first opioid legally from a prescription. This is the world we live in now.
People are being prescribed opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others), becoming addicted to them and then turning to heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil when they can no longer get the prescription or afford to buy the prescription drugs illegally. Fentanyl and carfentanil are 50 times stronger than heroin and can kill a user within seconds.
The primary source of these illegal drugs is China and Mexico. It is being trafficked over our border and through our mail. (Read the article 5-Step Total Immigration Reform Program). Fentanyl is an FDA approved opioid, but because it is synthesized chemists can create a wide range of similar synthetic opioids ranging in potency.
The pharmaceutical industry has created a horrible epidemic and needs to be stopped and held accountable. The government needs to step in and put stricter regulations on them. The costs for prescription drugs needs to be affordable and the pharmaceutical companies need to be transparent in what they are selling. We should pay no more than any other country.
In September 2017 forty-one states banded together to investigate the makers and distributors of these powerful opioid painkillers. As of November 2017 one hundred combined states, cities, and counties have filed lawsuits against the drug industry. They are trying to recoup their financial losses in trying to battle the epidemic. Nationwide it has cost 504 billion in economic costs in 2016. A wall costs only 30 billion.
Again, we need the government to step in and put some stricter regulations on them. Especially if they cannot manage or mandate themselves. Our country is facing a serious epidemic and it’s all based on greed. We need quicker, more affordable access to treat those with addiction and the pharmaceutical companies should have to pay for it. They created this mess. Let them help clean it up.