It has become a frequent headline in newspapers and on t.v. news: Americans found slumped over the steering wheel or found at home, dead from an opioid overdose. In August, 174 people overdosed on heroin over 6 days in Cincinnati. In those cases, most had used heroin laced with carfentanil, a fentanyl derivative that is used for tranquilizing large animals, such as those kept at a zoo. So how do regulated prescription drugs such as these end up in the hands of those who can abuse them?
This past December, the CDC released data that showed opioid addiction is here to stay in the United States. In 2015, 52,000 people died from an opioid overdose and more than half of these tragic deaths were caused by a legally prescribed or illegally obtained prescription. With all the regulations in place for prescription drugs in the U.S., one has to assume that there is a failure somewhere in the distribution system. How else could it be possible that 33,091, or 63%, of all opioid deaths were due to prescribed medicines?
A Trickle Down Effect