Last year, opioid addiction took 3,500 lives, a jump of 23 percent above 2014's figure, and it is likely to increase again this year. Dependency on drugs related to heroin has affected every strata of the population, including infants being born addicted at a skyrocketing rate.
Part of the blame must be placed on doctors, egged on by drug marketers, who overprescribed opioid-based painkillers for even minor problems like headaches or back pain. Experts estimate that 15 percent of patients prescribed opioids are abusing them. When their prescriptions run out, they move on to street drugs and eventually to heroin.
Two years after bills to create it were passed,
The state's new attitude is good, but it shouldn't lead to steps it will regret later. Wolf, for example, also favors legislation requiring insurance companies to cover "abuse-deterrent opioids," which are pills that can't be ground up to snort or inject. But swallowing pills is typically how opioid addiction begins. Similar bills in 20 states appear to help Big Pharma profit from a problem it helped create. A
Fighting opioid abuse seems to be an issue both sides can agree on. The current state budget includes increased funding to treat 11,000 more addicts. It is gratifying to see
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