Think About It: Oh Boy, Opioid - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

November 6, 2017

Think About It: Oh Boy, Opioid

Staggering… the numbers are simply staggering. We hear repeatedly nowadays about the dangers of opioid use and abuse in America. Years ago, that normally meant heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine addiction. But not anymore. The growing culprit today is not only legal, it's very often prescribed. Check out these statistics from various sources- 91% of poison deaths in Hawaii over a five-year span came from illegal or prescribed drugs. Hawaii sees a drug overdose death almost once every two days- that's 15 people monthly and that's actually 4% better our overdose numbers from two years ago.

80% of heroin users started by misusing prescription drugs. Five years ago, 260-million prescriptions were written in this country for pain-killing opioids- that's enough to supply one bottle to every single adult in America. The U.S. is home to a little less than 5% of the world's population, yet we are responsible for 80% of the world's opioid use- legal and illegal. I always thought we were the tough, cowboy kinda nation, but apparently we experience more pain than any other nation in the world... by far.

The lobbying effort of the drug makers is profound- as they've spent almost $900-million in campaign contributions and lobbying efforts since 2016, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. And Hawaii is not immune to this, though lobbying here is perceived to be minimal relative to other places. America and Hawaii need to get a grip on pain- from the doctors to Big Pharma to the lawmakers. Suffering pain is horrible, but the solution doesn't have to be addiction or death. At least not in the rest of the world. Think about it…

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