Opioid Epidemic

Controversy with Opioids for Pain and FDA Response


The number of people who are becoming dependent on prescription pain medications is on the rise.  An estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million of people misuse opioids worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroine.  The number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has increased overwhelmingly in the United States, more than quadrupling since 1999.  There is also more and more evidence  that shows a relationship between non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroine abuse in the United States. 

Rise in Heroin Use

 In order to face the complex problem of prescription opioid and heroin abuse in this country, we must come to terms with the nature of this phenomenon, for we are asked not only to confront the negative and growing impact of opioid abuse on health and mortality, but also to preserve the fundamental role played by prescription opioid pain relievers in healing and minimizing human suffering. That is, science must find an equilibrium between providing maximum relief from suffering while minimizing associated risks and adverse effects.