The United States is the largest consumer of opiate pain medications in the world. In 2007 alone, the US consumed almost 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone and 83 percent of the world’s oxycodone, according to the Report of the International Narcotics Control Board For 2008.
However, U.S Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is working to combat this. According to a press release from Dick Durbin on July 6, Durbin met with Chuck Rosenberg, to talk about potentially decreasing the amount of opiates produced in the U.S every year.
If this were to take place, it would be groundbreaking. Considering, for the past 20 years the DEA has consistently allowed for increasing opiate quotas. According to this press release, between 1993 and 2015 the quotas for oxycodone increased 39-fold, hydrocodone increased 12-fold, hydromorphone increased 23-fold and the production of fentanyl increased 25-fold.
It really is difficult to fathom the quantity of opiates that are flooding our homes and streets by the day. It is also hard to imagine that the agency that is supposed to be fighting the drug war, may actually be causing it.
“Tackling the opioid crisis will require a coordinated effort from government, health care providers, and drug companies. We must make sure all stakeholders are doing everything in their power to prevent opioid addiction,” said Senator Durbin. “I commend Administrator Rosenberg for acknowledging that the DEA can do more to keep dangerous painkillers off the market as well as off our streets, and I look forward to seeing real and tangible changes from his administration. Fewer pills on the market means less addiction and, hopefully, fewer deaths.” – [Quote taken from press release.]
Durbin is right. Once we start tackling the real issue of having so many drugs available, we will be able to start treating the victims of our negligence. I like to think of the opiate epidemic as a wound. We need to first stop the bleeding before we can let it heal.
My hope is that the DEA will do what is right and allow us to get a grip on the devastation that opiates have caused. Let’s stop the bleeding DEA and finally close up the wound of the opiate epiemic in America.