The truth about the US ‘opioid crisis’ – prescriptions aren’t the problem

The overdose epidemic is unmistakable. But it’s driven by illicit use of drugs. If moral panic results in more patients in pain, that would be a disaster
The Guardian (UK)
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The news media is awash with hysteria about the opioid crisis (or opioid epidemic). But what exactly are we talking about? If you Google “opioid crisis”, nine times out of 10 the first paragraph of whatever you’re reading will report on death rates. That’s right, the overdose crisis. For example, the lead article on the “opioid crisis” on the US National Institutes of Health website begins with this sentence: “Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids.” Is the opioid crisis the same as the overdose crisis? No. One has to do with addiction rates, the other with death rates. And addiction rates aren’t rising much, if at all, except perhaps among middle-class whites.