The prevalence of opiate-based painkiller drugs has rocked our nation, and Minnesota is no exception. Minnesota is presently dealing with a crisis due to the prevalence of opiates. Allina Health Urgent Care is fighting to cure the epidemic of opiate abuse by pushing for statewide regulation. Dr. Chris Jonson, a leader of Allina Health Urgent Care, states,“ I have seen too many people die from abusing chronic medication,” “Over the years the amount of deaths from this crisis is increasing at a fast and alarming rate.” Allina Health Urgent Care is attempting to get a 1-cent tax on every milligram of opioids a pharmaceutical company sells. In turn, this tax would generate 20 million dollars to support addiction programs and public awareness. Another measure being considered to help ebb the opiate epidemic is regulation of pharmacies. They are proposing an opiate monitoring program where pharmacies would be deposing of un-used prescriptions.
Pharmaceutical dollars have helped fuel the drug crisis. Opiate based corporations have spent 880 million nationwide from 2006-2015 on political lobbying to benefit their corporations. The unsafe nature of the opiates mixed with politics makes the substance abuse problem even harder to combat. In order to avoid losing lobbying dollars, the FDA can continue to vouch for unsafe drugs that cause addiction. President Trump is quoted as saying that he would attempt to expand the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which would aid in the recovery of opiate addicts.
In 2015, 52,000 Americans died of drug overdose. Two-Thirds of the addicts had used opiate-based painkillers prior to their death. The victims of these narcotics did not start taking these drugs in search of a high. Many of the now deceased were sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers rebounding from surgery and disease. Removing or imposing stricter regulation on these drugs from the market is nearly impossible because pharmaceutical companies have attempted to buy the support of political parties in hopes of continuing to turn a profit on these drugs. The good news is Trump has stated to help the recovery of opiate addicts. However, he did not say anything about the opiate tax that some states are aiming to enforce. Multi-million dollar pharmaceutical companies must pay taxes for their medication to enable opiate restrictions and to help opiate abusers.
When opiate addicts can no longer get their hands on prescription painkillers they tend to resort to heroin. Heroin is a highly addictive illegal drug that contains opiates as well. Opiate painkillers, when used in the right capacity, do their job to limit pain to injured and sick people. However, their abuse leads to overdoses throughout the nation. A painkiller should not be rooted from the same plant as a highly addictive street drug. States must pass restrictions on the strength of drugs in prescriptions. Recovery programs must be funded. My best friends who have undergone ACL surgeries flushed painkillers down the toilet after a few days in fear of addiction. Pharmaceutical companies are making millions to billions of dollars on these painkillers. Are they in our best interest or their own? Regardless of trust for these companies, opiate painkillers are dangerous and must be restricted state or nationwide. Abusers should be supported based on the highly addictive substance they are given. If not many sick, ill, or injured will continue to fall into harm’s way.