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How did the opiate crisis begin?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2019 | Drug Charges

No state in the country, including South Carolina, is immune to the horrifying opioid crisis. With people dying daily from these drugs, it is amazing to see so many people still addicted. You may wonder how this crisis began and why so many people seem to be using opioids. You are not alone. Many people want to know why this is happening. To find the answer, you need to look way back to the 1990s.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, the opioid epidemic began in the early ’90s when doctors increased the number of prescriptions for this class of drugs. They were being encouraged by pharmaceutical companies that promised the drugs were safe with little addiction risk. Of course, this was incorrect, and soon addiction and overdoses happened at alarming rates.

Pharmaceutical companies ignored the negative effects of the drugs and began working to get them more widely prescribed. They were mainly used for cancer-related pain, but companies began working to get them prescribed for other reasons. It worked and doctors were soon writing even more prescriptions.

Once everyone finally caught on that opioids were highly addictive and deadly, it was too late. The prices went up, and people using the drugs started looking for cheaper alternatives, which led them to heroin.

As heroin became harder to get, synthetic options started becoming more widely available. This includes fentanyl. This is where we are today. Fentanyl-laced drugs are often the leading cause of overdose deaths. Until we can get these drugs out of the streets and put processes in place to address addiction, the problem may never go away. This information is for education and is not legal advice.