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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Advisor

Dr. Bartley Rust

Abstract

Abstract

There is a growing concern in America over the increasing morbidity and mortality associated

with the use and abuse of opioid pain relievers. This alarming increase has led to the term

“crisis” when referring to these facts. Addressing this crisis is multi-focused. The need to prevent

and treat opioid addiction is on the forefront. These needs are seen in both the prescription of

opioids as well as the illicit use of non-prescription opioids. Overprescribing opioids has led to

an increase of abuse and addiction to these substances. This in turn has led to a rise in street use

of illicit opioids and subsequent overdoses and deaths. Pharmaceutical companies are to blame

when it comes to putting out more potent opioids and thus pressuring prescribers to use these

medications as a “reasonable” means to treat pain. Patient education is needed. Prescriber

responsibility must increase. Alternative pain treatment must be sought and lastly treatment for

those already addicted must begin. A description of the scope of the opioid crisis will be

addressed. Included will be the history of the crisis, factors which have contributed to the crisis,

the effects of the crisis on addiction and death tolls related to overdose, the economic result and

finally, interventions needed to attempt to solve this crisis.

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