Health: What to do as Opioid Overdose Numbers Worsen?

The Story:

In the 12-month period that ended with June 2021. the most recent period for which complete data are available, more than 101,000 people died from drug overdosage in the United States. That is an increase of 20% from the previous year.

Many overdose deaths are polysubstance caused. Most often among polysubstance deaths, one of the substances is fentanyl. In other words, although the U.S. has largely stopped arguing over the opioid overdose crisis, the crisis itself (if defined by numbers) is still with us and worsening.


As always, there is a faction that responds to such numbers with “war on drugs” language. Crack down on the supply and the suppliers, they say! But such crackdowns have by now a long history of failure.

In Pill Form:

Another approach involves a range of harm mitigation practices and policies, such as syringe exchange programs, or the widening distribution of naloxone, a medication that counters the breathing disruption that is so often the cause of death in overdoses.

Perhaps the most controversial mitigation policy, though, is the creation of overdose prevention centers in the form of safe injection site, where users can consume drugs in a safe environment.


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