MWFpress — Speaking at the White House, Trump said “we can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”
“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” he said. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now.” He added “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
Half a million dead
Since 1999, the number of American overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015, more than 500,000 people died of drug overdoses, and opioids account for the majority of those. Recently released numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that around 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. The CDC report notes that 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Opioids include opiates, an older term that refers to such drugs derived from opium, including morphine itself.
In general, overdoses killed more people in the US in 2015 than car crashes and gun deaths combined. The daily death toll is 142 fatal overdoses.
Opioid, multi-billion-dollar industry
People using opioids for pain relief, unrelated to cancer, usually need higher doses over time to keep it in check – risking addiction, overdosing and death, tens of thousands of Americans dying annually, a crisis demanding attention, not getting it because of drug industry influence.
Opioid addiction rates have skyrocketed over the past two decades, costing millions in health insurance costs and lost productivity in the workforce. According to Fortune magazine, an estimated 254 million opioid prescriptions were filled in 2010 alone, enough to medicate every adult in the US for a month on a round-the-clock basis. In that same year, pharmaceutical companies generated revenues of $11 billion from opioid sales alone.
Much of today’s opiate epidemic stems from the aggressive marketing tactics used by pharmaceutical companies over the past two decades. According to the New Yorker, companies such as Endo Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson centered their marketing campaigns on the use of opioids as all-purpose pain treatment medications.
While pharmaceutical companies no doubt took an active role in creating today’s opioid epidemic, issues surrounding regulatory drug practices left the door wide open for these companies to rebrand opioid treatment uses, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.
Trump’s Declaration not helpful
Critics say beyond the lack of funding, it is unclear how much impact the public health declaration will have in the short term, given that Trump did not name central players who would carry it out.
Representative Tom Marino, the Pennsylvania Republican whom Mr. rump had named to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, withdrew after reports that he did the bidding of the pharmaceutical industry in weakening law enforcement’s ability to curb drug sales in efforts to block black-market sales of opioids.-iuvmpress