(NaturalNews) Big Pharma is proving once again that it values profits more than human lives, as drug manufacturers fight efforts to curb the overprescription of highly addictive and often deadly opioid drugs.
Deaths from prescription opioid drug overdoses are on the increase – the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that from “2001 to 2014 there was a 3.4-fold increase in the total number of deaths.”
The over-prescription of opioid products has made the United States the center of the painkiller abuse epidemic. Americans consume about 81 percent of the global supply of oxycodone products (the active ingredient in OxyContin) and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone (the active ingredient used in brands such as Vicodin). More than 16,000 people die from opioid painkiller overdose every year.
The skyrocketing use of opioids in America is also closely linked to the rising heroin crisis, which reached new heights this year. Prescription opioids, which provide a high that is very similar to heroin, are often a gateway drug. As many as four out of five heroin users get started with opioid painkillers.
But the drug manufacturers seem to be unconcerned about these facts – or, rather, they are ignoring the facts and working against proposed reforms that could save thousands of lives each year and eliminate the misery of addiction for thousands more.