Earlier this fall, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a national public health emergency, making combatting it a priority for the federal government and states that have been hardest hit. In response to President Trump’s announcement, the Food & Drug Administration has begun eyeing strategies that would cut back on access to the drugs, how they are dispensed, and how to treat those who have become addicted. Opioids, a narcotic, are a class of pain-relieving drugs that affect the central nervous system and are derived from opium. Commonly known opioids include heroin, fentanyl, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Norco are some brand name opioids that are frequently used to treat everything from dental pain to post-surgical pain, as well as a variety of other pain-inducing conditions in between.
2015 data from the CDC shows that 52,000 people died from an opioid overdose that year and that more than half of those deaths were caused by a legally prescribed or illegally obtained prescription medication.
New Rules Likely to Upset Drug Companies and Consumers