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Current Affairs

Opioid crisis in US

Date: 24 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


Major drug manufacturers in US have agreed to compensate victims for creating a deadly opioid pandemic.



Many cases were registered against three US drug distributors --AmerisourceBergen Corp, McKesson Corp and Cardinal Health Inc.



The combined money that would be given in compensation will be worth $21 billion. It will directly be used for de-addiction treatment, education, family support and social programmes.


The crisis

  • The US is facing a drug crisis with large number of people dying due to opioid overdose. This is due to addiction to the opioids.

  • Majority of addiction drugs include pain relievers, fentanyl, heroin and other prescription drugs. This has affected social welfare, economic welfare and public health.

  • Opioids such as heroin, fentanyl and other drugs are linked to death of more than 5 lakh Americans since 2000. It is so grave that president Trump declared it a “national emergency”.

  • The crisis is estimated to cause a loss of more than $ 78 billion due to loss of productivity, criminal justice cost, health care costs and de-addiction costs.


Start of crisis

  • The crisis started in 1990s when drug distributors aggressively marketed their new pain relieving opioids by asking doctors to write their prescription.

  • The doctors were assured that they were not addictive. However, as prescription increased, misuse of the drugs started on a large scale. This led to addiction crisis.


Use of compensation money

The money will go to the government which will decide how much will be given to local governments to carry out cost of de-addiction.