The Opioid Crisis

By Thomas N. Palermo

In August 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released provisional data showing that, in 2017, there were 49,068 opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States of America, a 16 percent increase from 2016. (See National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Overdose Death Rates” (revised Aug. 2018).) Of the 2017 opioid-related deaths, 29,406 of them involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, up 46 percent from 2016. (Id.) The data reflect the consequences of ever-more-powerful opioids being sold and consumed here in the United States. Every injection, snort, or swallow is like a pull of the trigger in the opioid-equivalent of Russian roulette because each use carries the real risk of death or serious bodily injury.

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