(Natural News) The opioid epidemic in America is killing more people than guns and the blame rests squarely on Big Pharma. Until 2007, the number of deaths by firearm was five times greater than those caused by overdoses, but in 2015 overdose deaths surpassed gun deaths for the first time – and it looks like the trend will continue.
Drug companies have orchestrated and encouraged the over-prescription of powerful opioid painkillers for the past couple of decades – a policy which created problems now threatening to spiral out of control as the overdose death toll continues to rise dramatically each year.
America's current opioid crisis can be traced directly to the introduction of extremely potent – and highly addictive – opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, which was first marketed in 1995 and soon became a problem, both with patients who became addicted and with recreational drug users, who could snort or inject the drug much in the same fashion as heroin, and with similar results.
The federal government has finally ordered stricter limits on the prescription of opioid painkillers, but that has driven many opioid-dependent people to the streets in search of substitutes like heroin or increasingly, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – an often illicitly-manufactured drug many times stronger than heroin and far more dangerous in terms of overdose potential.
From The Week:
"Now that federal regulations have finally caught up to the pharmaceutical drug problem in this country and doctors have wised up to the sinister realities of the drug nicknamed 'Hillbilly Heroin,' the hard and fast days of OxyContin are over."
"Many are now arguing that the epidemic hasn't gone away so much as it has evolved: Heroin use is again on the upswing. Like a shrewd virus that mutates once it confronts a vaccine, Americans' addiction to opioids has survived the government crackdown on OxyContin and fled to the seedy asylum of heroin."