In the last few decades, the United States has witnessed proliferation in the use of prescription drugs such as opioids. Precisely, opioids are categories of drugs that comprise of substances such as strong pain relievers including fentanyl, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, heroin and oxycodone (Kolodny et al. 559). Recent reports indicated that the United States lost lives of more than 42, 000 individuals due to excess use of these drugs in 2016. Furthermore, nearly 1000 people are hospitalized each day for excess opioids prescriptions. Similarly, drug overdose and addiction are significantly leading to opioid epidemic in the country. Notably, opioid epidemic refers to escalation in the use of prescription opioid substance in the US (Dasgupta, Beletsky and Ciccarone 182). The problem has aggravated in the past three decades. Opioid epidemic is a big public health problem in the US because of its health and economic burden.
Opioid is a drug, which attaches itself in the spinal cord and the brain receptors eliminating the pain signal. They also have the capacity to trigger the reward sections in the brain, which enhance the production of hormone dopamine that create a sense of a ‘high’ or euphoria. Additionally, opioids such as codeine and morphine are produced through natural means especially from poppy plants (Kolodny et al. 560). In fact, the opium plants are extensively grown in different parts of the world including South America, Central America, and Asia. Again, Heroin drug is manufactured from morphine. Oxycodone and hydrocodone are sub-synthetic opioids manufactured using both synthetic substances and natural ingredients. Reports indicated that hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States since more than 6.2 pills of the substance are distributed throughout the country per years (Dasgupta, Beletsky and Ciccarone 183). Data from the International Narcotics Control boards noted that in 2015, the uptake of hydrocodone in the country accounted for more than 99.7 percent of the entire consumption in the world. On the other hand, the fully synthetic opioid include the Fentanyl which was originally manufactured to treat surgery anesthetic (Hadland, Wood and Levy 1260). Currently, it is applied in the reduction of severe pain especially in fatal diseases. Studies have noted that fentanyl is 100 times more potent as compared to morphine.
Opioid prescription such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone are widely dispensed to manage pain. In addition, methadone is fundamentally utilized in the treatm