What is the Opioid Crisis, and how has it impacted the United States. The Opioid Crisis in the United States has caused waves of deaths since 1990. It started with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids.
In 2010, there was a second large wave of overdoses; however, in that given year, heroin became a significant player in the opioid crisis in the United States.
Opioid crisis statistics since then have taken a dramatic toll, whereby in 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the US died from opioid-related overdoses, according to the CDC.
The Prominent Role Players in the Opioid Crisis in the United States
Over the years, pharmaceutical companies promoted opioids, resulting in an extraordinary rise in prescription medication and deaths caused by drug overdoses. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) played a role in the opioid crisis in the United States by their consequential labeling and approvement of analgesics.
The Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2019
The opioid crisis in the United States and opioid crisis statistics created a demand for change, and the regulation and implementation of the law, to hold the big players involved accountable. The Opioid Crisis Accountability Act (2019) was a bill that was passed to hold Big Pharma responsible for its role in the opioid crisis in America. It was introduced in the Senate on the 21st of May 2019 by Colorado US Senator Michael Bennet.
The legislation strengthens prohibitions on the illegal marketing of opioids. It creates a situation where top company executives could face criminal charges for any illegalities and any role in the opioid crisis.
Bennet stated this when introducing the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act in 2019.
Communities across the country are being ripped apart by the opioid epidemic. Multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and their executives reaped large profits for years while their questionable marketing and distribution practices precipitated a devastating public health crisis.
The way the bill works is that a fine would be given to all opioid manufacturers and distributors who produced any opioid products from 1993 to the present day. Then with the money gathered from the penalties, a fund would be created to support programs and activities to aid with the opioid crisis in the United States.
The opioid crisis has had high economic, social, and amenable death impacts. The devastating effects of the problem include the addictive aspects, with users experiencing addiction and newborns experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to opioid misuse in pregnancy.
While the Accountability Act 2019 has hindered executives in the distribution and manufacturing of opiates and slowed down the rise in yearly overdoses, the cases are still on the rise, and more needs to be done to tackle this epidemic. In 2021, opioid crisis statistics demonstrate that opioid-related deaths topped 100,000 a year!
According to an article by CNBC, Drug overdoses are costing the United States economy over 1 trillion dollars a year. Additionally, a report by Medscape stated that Opioid-related deaths are still on the rise, and it is estimated by the Stanford-Lancet Commission that an estimated 1.2 million people will die by 2029 due to opioid-related reasons.
These statistics demand that there is much more to be done in order to hold Big Pharma and the FDA accountable and new legislation needs to be passed in order to improve the situation related to the opioid crisis in America.
In terms of what can be done by laypeople, voting and putting pressure on state politicians in order to introduce more laws is essential to reducing the impact that the opioid crisis has on the American public.
The most recent activity in this area published on this topic can be seen in this article published by The Guardian. Johnson and Johnson and three other major drug distributers are expected to pay over $26 billion dollars in order to settle claims that it has played a large role in the opioid crisis.
This is the largest settlement claim carried out relating to the opioid crisis. The money will be used for providing support to people all over America, and particularly in places that have been struck badly by the opioid crisis in the United States.
In summary, the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2019 has provided the first step to making Big Pharma accountable for its role in the opioid crisis. However, more must be done in order to tackle the crisis. These include the introduction of more legislation, voting for bills to be passed, and providing addiction services to people who need them.