Since 1999 over eight hundred and forty thousand Americans have died from opioid overdoses. That encompasses over seventy percent of all drug overdose-related deaths in that same period. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 2019 saw seventy thousand six hundred and thirty opioid-related drug overdose deaths in the United States alone.
Opioids can be derived from two different sources. Technically, those derived from poppy plants are categorized as “opiates.” These include morphine and heroin. Opioids aremsynthetic, manufactured. The synthetic versions have flooded streets worldwide in the form of pills, sometimes laced with Fentanyl, an opioid about one hundred times more potent than
opiates like morphine.
Originally created to manage pain, opioids started as miracle drugs. They treated moderate to severe pain. That was accomplished by blocking the pain signals, interrupting their transmission from body to brain and vice versa. Like any other drug, there were side effects.
Patients report feeling a sense of euphoria, improved mood, and a deceptive sense of well-being. Those came hand-in-hand with some negative effects such as constipation, nausea, confusion, sleepiness, and most importantly, physical dependence. Though originally brought to market in 1775, opioids didn’t start seeing wide use in America until the Civil War. Used to treat battle wounds in field hospitals, aid with the suffering of soldiers with amputated limbs, and gunshot or shrapnel wounds, many veterans developed
addictions after the war ended. From there, it spread throughout the country as a whole. In an attempt to ebb the flow of opioids and opioid addictions in the United States, an act was passed to increase taxation on anyone involved in the cultivation, transportation, and processing.