The opioid crisis in the United States continues to rage on in 2019, and it seems that no city or state is immune to the skyrocketing rates of overdose deaths. Opioid abuse has dominated the headlines since 2017 and in that time, over 49,000 Americans have died as a result of opioid overdoses. As the battle against opioid abuse continues, let’s take a look at the current state of the opioid abuse crisis in the United States.
Synthetic opioid overdoses on the rise
As if heroin and prescription pain-killers weren’t enough, the rise in synthetic opioid overdoses has made the opioid crisis all the more urgent. Synthetic drugs like fentanyl are as much as 50 times more potent than their counterparts, which makes them far more deadly. In fact, fentanyl is so potent that just ¼ milligram of the substance is enough to be deadly.
A recent study found that deaths caused by synthetic opioids have more than doubled in the past two years in 28 states. While heroin and prescription painkiller overdose rates have shown some improvement over the past year, overdoses from synthetic opioids continue to skyrocket at an alarming rate.
Feds crack down on over-prescribers
The federal government has recently taken major steps to hold over-prescribers of opioid painkillers accountable. In 2019 alone, dozens of medical professionals have been indicted for illegally prescribing opioid painkillers and other drugs. According to a CBS News report, one doctor in Tennessee has been charged with selling hundreds of thousands of pills in exchange for sexual favors. In Ohio, one pharmacy has been accused of prescribing over 1.75 million pills, earning it the nickname the “pill mill.” In total, the newly created Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force (ARPO) has brought charges involving 32 million illegally prescribed pills in just four months. Clearly, The Justice Department has stepped up its game in the war against illegal opioids.
The crisis rages on
While law enforcement has now waged an all-out war on illegal opioids and those who distribute them, the crisis is far from over. According to the Center for Disease Control, 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses. While the war against opioids is far from won, we should all remember the brave men and women of law enforcement who have made it their mission, despite the risk, to take these poisonous drugs off the streets.