The Dark Side of Opioid Prescription

The prescription of opioids first began in America during the 1860’s. Opioids were used on soldiers who fought in the Civil War who suffered wounds from combat. The first opioid used was morphine, in which interestingly enough those who were treated with this opioid began to develop dependencies and addiction to this drug in the following years after the Civil War. This could be marked as the first sign of people developing serious health issues due to the use of medical drugs.

Not long after opioids began to be used by the public to treat pain and as of 1996, a new opioid hit the market FDA approved. This new opioid would be oxycontin which was used to treat pain for people who recently had surgery or suffered from a serious injury. In reality though a doctor could prescribe you an opioid based on how much pain you’re in from a specific injury that was suffered previously. It was stated in, The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy, by Art Van Zee, that Oxycontin was heavily marketed and publicized as sales for the opioid in 1996 reached 48 million dollars and began to grow in the following years. As of 2000 the total sales of Oxycontin reached 1.1 billion dollars as Oxycontin was highly available. The availability of Oxycontin began to make the drug more abusable and as of 2004 Oxycontin became a leading drug of abuse in America. As people who abused opioids skyrocketed, so did overdose deaths. On October 26th of 2017, President Trump officially declared the opioid epidemic as a national health emergency. As a writer and researcher, I did some digging and found a chart that shows the dramatic increase in opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2020 made by the NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) in an article called Overdose Death Rates. In 2010, it was reported that around 15,000 people had died due to prescribed opioid use, and 21,089 people died due to opioids in itself. As of 2020 those numbers have risen to 16,416 total overdose deaths related to prescribed opioids as well as the overdose death count involving any opioid had reached an all time high at 68,630 people. It was reported by the U.S. Department of Health And Human Services in an article called the Opioid Crisis Statistic that in 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people over the age of 12 misused opioids in the past year. To even further the notion more than 760,000 people have died since 1999, from a drug overdose, and in 2018, two out of three overdose deaths involved opioids.

As the statistics were alarming I began to wonder, why do people get so addicted to opioids. So I researched and came to find that people who use opioids experience the following feelings; the individual’s pain goes away and the individual starts to feel a high sensation in which they feel happy and relaxed, some even reported being confused a lot of the time for some reason. When the individual comes down from that high, it is reported by the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists in article Side Effects Of Opioids, that they will suffer from the following side effects; nausea, vomiting, constipation, pruritus (severe itching of the skin), dizziness, dry mouth and sedation. As for the long term effects of opioids besides possible addiction and overdose, it is reported from the National Library of Medicine in an article called Long-Term Opioid Therapy Reconsidered, that people can suffer from serious fractures, breathing problems during sleep, hyperalgesia (abnormal hypersensitivity to pain), immunosuppression, chronic constipation, bowel obstruction, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and tooth decay secondary to xerostomia (dry mouth to the point where your saliva glands can not produce a sufficient amount of saliva).

The prescribing and refilling of prescribed opioids from doctors has decreased from year to year since 2018, due to the passing of the Substance Use Disorder that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities act on October 24th, 2018, but still in just 2020 alone there was a staggering total of 142,816,781 opioids were prescribed. As of recently though people have begun to question doctors and even hold doctors accountable for their excessive prescribing of opioids. Doctors have started to get red flagged for suspicious over-prescribing of opioids and even are losing their medical licenses. Some doctors are also facing prison time. For instance in an article called Alabama “pill mill” doctors get 20 year prison sentence, two pain specialists in 2017, were receiving kickback payments from an opioid manufacturer to prescribe immense quantities of fentanyl. The two pain specialists owned a company called Physicians’ Pain Specialists of Alabama, they also owned a pharmacy that processed most of the opioid prescriptions. Both doctors were heavy prescribers and received a prison time of 20 and 21 years in incarceration. In another article I found called, 93 Year old doctor is sentenced to 10 years in prison for opioid distribution, a Las Vegas doctor was sentenced to 10 years in federal incarceration as well as fined 2.5 million dollars. This 93 year old doctor was charged with this sentence because it is said that he was prescribing oxycontin, xanax, and other medically prescribed drugs for no legitimate medical reason. It is stated that this doctor was responsible for distributing opioids to a network of dealers and addicts to more than 230 people, in which the federal court had heard from. As diabolical as those two court cases sound, an even bigger whale of a court case has just reached a verdict. As the department of justice’s office of affairs released the following 16 Defendants, Including 12 physicians, Sentenced to Prison for Distributing 6.6 Million Opioid Pills and Submitting $250 Million in False Billings.The 16 defendants were in charge of a $250 million dollar health care fraud scheme which include the exploitation of patients who suffer or suffered from addiction. They were also in charge of the illegal distribution of over 6.6 million opioids in the Michigan and Ohio area. All of the defendants of this case were given between a 9 year and six month sentence in prison as well as millions of dollars in fines. So should doctors be legally allowed to prescribe opioids and if they are allowed to prescribe opioids what holds a doctor back from gaining great financial gains through shady play of kickbacks.


(DCD), D. C. D. (n.d.). Opioid crisis statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

16 defendants, including 12 physicians, sentenced to prison for distributing 6.6 million opioid pills and submitting $250 million in false billings. The United States Department of Justice. (2022, March 9). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Opioid timeline. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 16). Talk to your doctor about managing your pain. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from,or%20for%20certain%20health%20conditions.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 10). U.S. opioid dispensing rate maps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Dyer, O. (2017, August 4). 93 Year Old U.S. Doctor is Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison For Opioid Distribution. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Farrell, D. (n.d.). Opioid crisis: A call to action. AACP. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Ongoing emergencies. CMS. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Opioids. Opioids | Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2022, October 19). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

The Origin and Causes of the Opioid Epidemic. The origin and causes of the opioid epidemic. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, July 21). Overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from

Von Korff, M., Kolodny, A., Deyo, R. A., & Chou, R. (2011, September 6). Long-term opioid therapy reconsidered. Annals of internal medicine. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from 

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1 Response to Definition—WorldOfJuice

  1. davidbdale says:

    Paragraphs, Please.
    Your References list (not Sources) is a non-compliant mess.
    This is months late and not ready for feedback.
    Good to see some content, but whip it into shape and resubmit for Feedback Please.

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