US government and public health officials have used the term opioid crisis or opioid epidemic to describe the sharp rise in the number of Americans abusing or becoming addicted to opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain by working on opiate receptors in the user's brain. They can be made naturally using derivatives of a flowering plant known as the opium poppy, or they can be created synthetically in a laboratory. Examples of opioids with approved medical uses include codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone, among others. Fentanyl is approved for use as an anesthetic and, in rare cases, to manage severe pain. Others, such as heroin and carfentanil, circulate primarily through illegal sales.
The opioid crisis...Read more