What You Should Know About the Opiate Epidemic In 2021

The opioid crisis did not begin recently; it has been around only that the recent covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in the epidemic. The main reasons are social isolation, an increase in mental health issues, and economic crisis. The following are several things you need to know about the opiate epidemic.

How It All Started

The late 90s marked the entry of opioids into the pharmaceutical market. The drug companies started pushing opioids to medical practitioners, saying the drugs were not addictive compared to morphine and had no severe side effects. Being prescription drugs with positive results and patients taking them, the opioids become more readily available and in demand.

Understanding the genesis of the problem is essential because the more you know, the better you will understand the opiate epidemic. After finishing the prescribed medicine, the user becomes dependent on opioids as the brain craves the drug. If one cannot withstand the withdrawal symptoms of the drugs, they resort to cheaper drugs since the prescription ones are quite expensive.

Most Affected Groups

All and sundry intensely feel the impact of the opioid crisis. Age is not a barrier as young and old can get themselves in the rut. Even if one does not use the drugs, their loved one may be abusing the opioids. Apart from dying, the drugs pose an economic burden upon families since individuals have to forego necessities to buy the drugs.

The emotional turmoil families have to put up with is immense as they try to help the addicted individuals.

Why the Opiate Epidemic Is Worse Than Any Other

An opioid overdose causes more deaths compared to any drug, which is why it is an epidemic. The picture becomes more gruesome when the reported deaths show that they are from prescription drugs and not from illegal drugs.

The Epidemic in Recent Times

In the past two decades, when the epidemic was still devastating, it was not until 2020 that the death rate from drug overdose escalated. There is a connection between the high death rate and the covid-19 pandemic. The sad news is that the opioid crisis is not receiving the same attention the covid-19 menace is getting.

There needs to be an immediate response to help reduce the deaths and drug use by involving all policymakers.

Is There Hope?

Though it may not have affected you individually, the opiate epidemic is of global concern. It requires a concerted effort from all people if there ever was going to be an improvement. People need to be aware of the symptoms an addicted person exhibits and the dangers of abusing the drugs. Stigmatization of addicts also needs to be shunned since anyone can be a victim. As seen, most people get into addiction after getting opioids as a prescription drug.

If you notice anybody with signs of addiction, you can contact a treatment expert and look for a way forward to help the patient.


There are medicines available that help in reversing the effects of opioids. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are some of the medications a physician can administer. The success of the treatment depends on how severe the addiction is, any mental illness, and complications of chronic diseases.

Relapses may occur before a patient gains full recovery. Change of environment and having caring friends and family members can help hasten the recovery.