With a little less than 100 people dying of painkiller abuse every day, Doctor David Kessler, former head of the FDA, is now calling the phenomenon “an American disease” that has reached epidemic levels.
The data shows that over 259 million prescriptions painkillers have been written beginning with the year 2012. And more than 165,000 deaths related to prescription pain relievers have been registered between the years 1999 to 2014, with about 19,000 deaths in 2014 alone.
A battle is currently undergoing between the FDA, The Food and Drink Administration, and the AMA, the American Medical Association, with the former trying to impose doctor training for painkiller prescriptions.
A massive 1.5 million American doctors have prescribing privileges.
So what does this mean? Has the FDA and their lobbyist found a new method to capitalize on the system’s vulnerability or is this painkiller abuse indeed a situation worth further regulating?
There are a few painkillers that stand out from the drugs with deadly potential. One of them is OxyContin. Taking OxyContin, dubbed the Hillbilly Heroin as an example, the regulating authority has drawn attention to other similar painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin.
OxyContin is called the Hillbilly Heroin because the pill was designed to release pain throughout the course of several hours, however, if the drug is cracked-up, it gives an instant rush.
An enormous $35 billion has been spent on this particular painkiller since its 1996 release. Apparently even heroin addicts find heroin to be less expensive than OxyContin.
The DEA is also trying to make prescription painkillers harder to obtain and diminish painkiller abuse.
At the moment, there is a voluntary program funded and administered by the drug-makers for doctors with prescription rights, but only 37, 500 physicians have completed the training – less than half of the targeted 80, 000.
The FDA considers the voluntary programs to be insufficient and is trying to push the training at mandatory levels. Some 30 advisers supported a new opioid policy last week with the means of imposing official painkiller training.
So what do you think? Does America have a painkiller abuse epidemic or a corruption epidemic, or both? How much regulation does this country need? Are officials working for us or against us? What are your thoughts on this subject?
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