The current opioid epidemic is affecting every corner of the nation. In fact, The New Yorker recently reported that two hundred thousand people in the United States have died from opioid overdoses since 1999.
In New York City alone, more than 80 percent of the city’s 1,374 overdose deaths in 2016 were linked to opioids, according to the New York City Department of Health. Even worse, overdose deaths in NYC increased an alarming 47 percent in one year from 2015 to 2016 — and this year isn’t looking any better.
Given how devastating this problem has become, many are starting to wonder whom, if anyone, is actually responsible.
Sorting out the blame
So just who do we hold accountable for the opioid epidemic? The pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs, the doctors who over-prescribe them or the pharmacies that fill the prescriptions for profit? Is one, or all, of these parties responsible?
Well, there are many differing views when it comes to answering these questions. For instance, many jurisdictions have chosen to go after for drug makers. Just last month, New Jersey filed suit against Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, alleging the company contributed to the opioid epidemic through deceptive marketing to both patients and doctors.
In other cases, authorities have stripped doctors of their licenses, charged them with crimes and shut down pharmacies that contributed to obvious prescription fraud.
So, at least according to the authorities, it looks like everyone mentioned above shares at least some of the responsibility for this recent opioid crisis. Who do you think should be responsible for opioid overdose deaths?