An overview of the opioid crisis and analysis of standardized patient education
MetadataShow full item record
Opioids have been used for the treatment of pain for hundreds of years, but recent increases in availability and drug potency have created an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose. Between 2000 and 2015, opioid-related drug overdoses contributed to a reduction of 0.21 years to life expectancy in the United States. More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that opioids were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 alone, with an increasing proportion of those deaths coming from heroin and synthetic opioids. The United States government has been responding to the opioid crisis in large part by dedicating resources to the treatment of opioid overdose victims with naloxone and the rehabilitation of opioid addicts. The reactive nature of this approach, while greatly beneficial to the portion of the United States population already addicted to opioids, does little to prevent patients from becoming addicted to drugs in the first place. Teaching patients when and how to use prescriptions safely could prove to be a more viable strategy in addressing not only the opioid crisis but in preventing similar future public health crises involving prescription drugs.