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Opioid Epidemic: The Beginning of Today’s Problems

Opioid Epidemic and Opioid Addiction - The Bergand Group

How did we get here? In terms of the opioid epidemic, there are clear stages that we can look back on and point fingers at. This opioid addiction is out of control, clearly, and understanding how it happened may be part of finding a way to alleviate it going forward.

How the Opioid Epidemic Got Its Start

It’s said by many experts that this nightmare scenario began in the 1990s as a result of a “dramatic escalation in availability.” When health care providers became gradually more willing to give out prescription pills for conditions less severe than specific forms of acute pain, the instances of opioid addiction rose dramatically. With other kinds of pain (like chronic pain), these pills were an option for a quick response, but they were – and are – far from any kind of a solution.

The pharmaceutical companies are also to blame for how the opioid epidemic in America today. The data they provided was that these pills were not harmful and that they would be helpful in alleviating chronic pain and other conditions. Those companies were driven by profit, primarily, and did not take the time (or, they didn’t want to use the effort) to do more solid research. As a result, they lead the population to believe what is essentially the opposite of the truth. They “mobilized a concerted effort to shape medical opinion and practice,” and that effort worked out well for them.

Perhaps the largest example of this phenomenon is Purdue Pharma’s “aggressive promotion” of OxyContin, which had a high availability and which was pushed by the company. As a result, doctors and thousands of other health workers advertised the drug to their patients, talked about it at conferences, and prescribed it freely. By the time anyone realized that this wasn’t a good idea, it was far too late, and these patients had developed severe addictions to the pills.

The opioid epidemic began with a company who wanted to turn a profit. Unfortunately, it isn’t easily remedied. Opioid addiction is difficult to overcome, and some companies are still standing behind potentially-dangerous prescription pills. More doctors (and people in general) than ever are recognizing the state of opioid addiction in the country for what it is, but we need more than just recognition. Luckily, Purdue Pharma and other companies pleaded guilty to their false advertising in 2007, and that was a step in the right direction. However, the problem is clearly still an enormous one, and it is still wreaking havoc across the country on people who have already been exposed to the nature of these pills.

Doctors were once more conservative with the number of pills that they gave to their patients, and when that changed, it sped along the progress of the opioid epidemic. Availability is a huge part of this issue, though unfortunately, now, when some people aren’t able to get them from their health care provider anymore, they find other sources. This is how many patients move from an opioid addiction to heroin use, and then how all that leads to overdose. There has to be a better way to aid these people who are still suffering because of greedy decisions from decades ago.

To get professional help for yourself or for others who need support in overcoming an addiction, contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with drug addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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