by Dr. Joseph Mercola, mercola.com
Opioid overdose deaths are rising as over 202,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses between 2002 and 2015, and more than 70,000 died in 2017. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, and chronic use accounts for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment.
Narcotic pain relievers place an enormous economic burden on society, costing an estimated $504 billion each year. As noted by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We know of no other medication routinely used for nonfatal conditions that kills patients so frequently.”
Despite these risks, including birth defects and risks of addiction, nearly one-third of women of childbearing age are prescribed opioids, and more than 14 percent of pregnant women are prescribed opioids during their pregnancy.
In April 2016, the CDC published a paper noting opioids have not been proven safe or effective beyond six weeks of treatment. “In fact, several studies have shown that use of opioids for chronic pain may actually worsen pain and functioning, possibly by potentiating pain perception,” the paper states.
In the most recent turn of events, a Massachusetts state court judge ruled to release an unredacted version of a complaint filed in January with the attorney general’s office naming Purdue, eight in the Sackler family and nine others currently or previously associated with the company as defendants.
© 2019 Dr. Joseph Mercola