Slowly, the numbers for opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths are rising with each passing year and the troubling fact is that it isn’t just in one location. While the pharma industry in the U.S has already come under hot water for their questionable practices, in Canada, awareness is only now spreading regarding the use of and prescription of problematic opioids for patients.
Unfortunately, while opioids are usually prescribed for pain related ailments, doctors often feel like they don’t have any other alternative but to recommend these medications for their patients. In fact, 1 in 5 patients in Canada are still being prescribed opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone, hydromorphone and others like them that are highly addictive and can lead to substance abuse.
Fentanyl, in particular, is largely abused, even being mixed in with other street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. While actions are being taken against over-prescription of opioids for patients, the current threat lies in the usage of tainted versions of street drugs that contain fentanyl and other opioids.
Heroin, in particular, is a major cause for concern since it gives a similar high to opioids. When ingested with these street drugs, a person has more chances of accidentally experiencing an opioid overdose on the drug, even if a safe amount is used.
The Curse and the Cure
To battle an opioid overdose, addicts are treated with naloxone that reverses many of the effects of the opioid. Unfortunately, naloxone is also manufactured by the very same pharma companies that are making the opioids. This creates a situation where the companies stand to benefit in either scenario.
With more addicts, more naloxone is needed and more opioids to fuel that weird addictive cycle that has been created. Many who have noticed this pattern have stated it is similar to the practices deployed by the tobacco industry where they sold cigarettes as well as nicotine therapy to combat smoking addiction.
Over Marketing Of Opioids
Many are angry that drug specialists and pharma businesses have continued to peddle these opioids without any repercussions regarding the fact that they over marketed, manipulated and even minimized important information regarding these opioids. However, Purdue Pharma Canada was brought to task with a $20 million class-action lawsuit regarding the over marketing of OxyContin where they minimized the addictive side effects behind it.
Another interesting factor to note here is that OxyContin is recommended for temporary use to alleviate pain for a few days. Purdue Pharma Canada, instead, recommended OxyContin for long-term use, particularly for patients who suffer from chronic pain. When used these circumstances, it is very easy for the patients to develop an addiction which most have compared to one that is similar to a heroin high.
This isn’t just limited to Canada though. Purdue Pharma’s U.S division has faced lawsuits from New Jersey, Mississippi, Ohio, and New Hampshire as well as other states that claim that the over marketing tactics deployed by Purdue is directly responsible for the rise in opioid addiction and abuse in these states.
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