December 31, 2016

Multi-Factorial Approach to the Opioid Epidemic: Public Health Perspective

Priscilla Bowens, Haynes and Boone, Dallas, TX

Overview of the Epidemic

After nearly two decades of misuse and abuse, drug overdoses from opioids — or “pain killers” as they are more commonly known — have become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.1 Opioids are a group of analgesic agents that act on the central nervous system. In addition to analgesia, opioids can produce euphoria, sedation, and physical dependence. Fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and butorphanol are well-known opioid agonists — drugs that act on opioid receptors to produce analgesic effects.

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