Commonly prescribed by doctors to treat pain from a variety of conditions and procedures, opioids work by blocking nerve conduction of pain signals. In 2019 alone, over 153 million opioid prescriptions were written. While the Centers for Disease Control has not yet compiled figures for 2020, it is expected that opioids will continue to be the most prescribed medications for pain. Some parts of the United States have seen six times the national average of prescriptions written, all while drug abuse and addiction-related deaths continue to rise.
From 1999 to 2019, the United States has seen over half a million overdose deaths directly related to opioids, with this number continuing to rise year over year.
THE OPIOID PROBLEM DURING COVID
During the COVID-19 pandemic alone, the United States has seen over 93,000 overdose-related deaths. The highest number ever calculated in any 12 month period. Over 31% of these are thought to be caused by synthetic opioids running rampant through the black market.
These deaths not only devastate the victim's loved ones, they also devastate local communities. The CDC has estimated that prescription opioid abuse carries an economic cost of over $78.5 billion dollars per year for treatment, prevention, and enforcement.