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The U.S. is gripped by a crippling opioid crisis even before it was announced as a public health emergency by the government. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths related to opioids have quadrupled since 1999, killing more than 42,000 in 2016. How did this opioid epidemic begin?
The opioid crisis began in the early ‘90s when doctors and other healthcare providers started aggressively prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain. Part of the prescribed treatment for pain was long-term use of opioids, including the controversial drug Oxycontin. Big pharmaceutical companies also began marketing these opioids to medical providers labeling them as safe and not addictive. This resulted in prescribing these opioids in much higher quantities.
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It wasn’t long before people started abusing these painkillers. About half of the people who misused the prescription opioids either got them from friends or family without any prescription. Another cause of the crisis was the faults of doctors overprescribing the drug. The doctors would either recommend an unhealthy amount or write prescriptions covering weeks-worth of dosages.
Later on, opioids became harder to get legally. This forced some people to resort to finding alternatives in the form of heroin or black market fentanyl. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Due to this crisis, bigger funding has been proposed to help counter this problem. The government has allocated $17 billion to address this crisis in its 2019 budget.
Acclaimed private investigator Adam Quirk has previously worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He now owns a private investigation firm, Stealth Advise, LLC. More on Adam and his company here.