By analyzing modern addiction, the history of opiates, and current medical practices, what were the major factors that led the United States to their current opiate epidemic, and are there any safe solutions?
My essay aims to peel back the layers of the current opiate epidemic the United States is currently facing, and find the main causes. While many drugs (legally prescribed or otherwise) are causing issues in the US, opiates are quickly becoming the most common and abused. I aim to investigate why doctors underestimated the addictive properties of opiates, and how they are currently dealing with the demand for these drugs.
My interest in drug culture has grown significantly over the past ten years, and I have always wanted to learn and research more into Americas current biggest drug crisis’. Opiate deaths are rising in the US, and the UK is starting to notice this epidemic bleed into their own population, so now is an important time to analyse what went wrong in the US and what can be done for the future.
The structure of my essay is not broken down into individual paragraphs, rather sections with varying amount of text.
Introduction: Basic overview of essay, brief descriptions / definitions of opiates and addiction.
- History of opiates – medical and cultural use, legalities, dangers, new opiates, and opiate strength hierarchy.
- Addiction – how people get addicted to opiates, why opiates are particularly addictive, modern and historic understanding of addictions, and how to combat addiction.
- Rise of opiates in US – including the United States history with opiates, how new opiates have helped and harmed the population, analysis of statistics involving prescriptions, crime, deaths, state interactions, etc.
- Solutions – mainly analysing how Switzerland dealt with their heroin epidemic, and looking at new and “safer” opiates for the future.
Conclusion: Voicing my own views and concerns, and what I expect to come in the future
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Madhusoodanan, Jyoti, “Safer Opioids May Be on the Horizon, but Mitigating Addiction Is a Long Shot.”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 33, 2018.
Makary, Martin A, “Overprescribing Is Major Contributor to Opioid Crisis.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 359, 2017.
Miron, Jeffrey, “Overdosing on Regulation: How Government Caused the Opioid Epidemic”, Cato Institute, 2019.
Rudd, Rose A., “Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths — United States, 2000–2014.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 64, no. 50 & 51, 2016.