Opioid Crisis

US government and public health officials have used the term opioid crisis or opioid epidemic to describe the sharp recent rise in the number of Americans who abuse or are addicted to opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain by working on opiate receptors in the user's brain. They can be made from naturally produced derivatives of a flowering plant known as the opium poppy, or they can be created synthetically in a laboratory. Examples of opioids with approved medical uses include codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone, among others. Fentanyl is approved for use as an anesthetic and, in rare cases, to manage severe pain. Others, such as heroin and carfentanil, circulate primarily or exclusively on...

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