Opioid Addiction and Overdose in America


  • Brian Parsons


In 1971, Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs. Today, almost 53 years later, it’s clear the United States has not only lost this war but is also suffering the consequences. In 2014, the life expectancy of Americans decreased for the first time since World War I (Deweerdt 2019). The drug related death toll in 2017 alone surpassed American casualties (Minhee and Calandrillo 2019) from “the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined.” Three drugs in particular are to blame for what the American government has deemed a public health emergency: opioids, heroin, and fentanyl. Ironically, legally acquired prescription opioids are the biggest culprit as they have acted as a gateway and created a snowball effect into the more serious drug use of heroin and fentanyl. Drug addiction and drug overdose is now considered to be a number one threat to the American people (Minhee and Calandrillo 2019).