Last updated: October 19, 2020
The pharmaceutical industry has good intentions when they develop, produce, and market drugs or pharmaceuticals as medications. The purpose of the drugs they manufacture is to alleviate consumers’ ailments and symptoms. Yet, sometimes the products end up killing people who they are supposed to help.
In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids. The statistical fatality rates are higher among non-Hispanic whites, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, as when compared to blacks and Hispanics. It is the doctor’s responsibility to subscribe a healthy does of medication that can help customers deal with their pain. It’s clear that the issue of prescription pill abuse should receive far more attention.
While the opioid epidemic is a national problem, it’s growing at a meteoric rate in Atlanta. More people have died from opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, and heroin drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, according to the CDC.
Three interesting facts are that heroin and OxyContin are molecularly almost identical; they operate in the same way in the body, and drug addicts use them interchangeably. Some people view OxyContin, the legally prescribed medication as a gateway drug to heroin. Oxy, as it is commonly referred to is designed to treat moderate to severe pain, but because it is such a powerful narcotic, even people who have never tried drugs before they were first prescribed them, have developed harmful and toxic addictions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics show that the minority populations tend to have far less drug addiction and fatalities when compared to young white adults because the heroin usage among non-Hispanic whites has spiked by a rate of 114% between 2004 and 2013.
At 17.4 percent, restaurant employees are the highest users of illegal drugs. It is shown that jobs involving food preparation and serving customers use illegal drugs at twice the rate of the national average. The primary reason for this is because restaurants don’t usually administer drug tests, so it is more likely that drug users will seek employment there.
It is also true that a young person’s first job is typically in a restaurant bussing tables, serving customers, or cooking food. Restaurants and other service industry fields do not usually require a formal education, which makes the industry less demanding about background checks and drug tests because they mistakenly believe they would have a more limited source of employees to choose from.
It is common for people to try out drugs for the first time when they are teenagers. There were about 2.8 million new users of illicit drugs in 2013, which is equal to about 7,800 new users per day. Most of them are under the age of 18 years old. Another staggering statistic of drug use in 2013 is that 6.5 million Americans age twelve or older confessed to using prescription drugs like pain relievers, stimulants, and sedatives for nonmedical purposes. In many homes it is not uncommon for teenagers and college kids to steal left over medications from their parent’s or grandparent’s cabinets to help them deal with stress, or for recreational use. Again, this is not the intent of the manufacturers or physicians and sadly, it needs to be addressed.
It is a communal belief that most drug users are homeless and unemployed, but abusers of prescription drugs shatter that perception. According to a US government study, almost 75% of illegal drug users are employed. In addition, a person with an income and legitimate job find it easier to obtain prescription drugs and use or sell them for unintended purposes. It really is vital to wipe away the common stereotype that all drug addicts are poor, unemployed, homeless, or uneducated because it’s simply not the case.
The drug abuse effect crosses all classes and intercedes as a result of one’s genetic, environmental, and cultural influence. For example, an out-of-work employee is on leave for a recent back injury. After an MRI scan, he begins to receive a prescription of OxyContin from his doctor, who considers only the well-being of his patient, but because of the patient’s genetic history of drug abuse and his current environmental situation, he decides to abuse the drugs, taking an increased amount that even furthers his dysfunction to operate as a productive citizen. The doctor’s intent was to help the patient through a healing process, but now the patient is in a more dire circumstance because they have become addicted to the OxyContin pills. The doctor and the patient have a mutual responsibility to one another, but the prescription drug is a part of the equation as well. However, the prescription pill is at the end of the day a drug and affects a person in various ways, which makes the prescribing drug process very unsafe.
Citizens who live on a $20,000 annual income have one-third less of a chance to recover from a cocaine addiction, than someone who earns over $70,000. Regardless if the drug is cocaine, heroin, or OxyContin, addiction is a difficult battle. Essentially, a person’s job and even his or her race play a vital role in substance abuse. Drug addiction makes no exception of persons. There are wealthy people with elaborate lifestyles that abuse drugs and people with very little possessions that don’t.
The mass amounts of prescription drug deaths that permeate our present day society are not the pharmaceutical company’s fault. They cannot be blamed on economics or race. They’re not even dependent on income. They are a collective responsibility of society and should be viewed through a more scrutinizing pair of lenses. A special kind of awareness is needed in order to produce a societal response to counter the overwhelming numbers of fatalities and debilitating addictions that have occurred since the turn of the century. Together, people must confront this silent epidemic.