The American nation has been busy taking measures to mitigate the prescription opioids that have been flooding into the United States. Amidst this, makers and manufacturers of prescription painkillers have been making every possible effort to terminate or thwart those measures. Fortunately, it seems that the state of Massachusetts has taken a stand to stop these drugmakers in their tracks and hinder their efforts.
According to these drugmakers, they are the ones battling the country’s addiction epidemic. However, The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity made the discovery that these drugmakers are actually following a 50-state strategy and they have hundreds of lobbyists who have contributed millions to the campaign. Drugs like fentanyl, OxyContin and Vicodin have been responsible for promoting and supporting America’s overdose crisis, and these drugmakers constantly been against proposals that aim to control these drugs.
To repress and restrain all the deaths resulting from opium addiction, one of the country’s most resilient laws was passed this year in the state of Massachusetts. From 2006 to 2015, over $122,000 of contributions have been made by drugmakers and their supporters to local state candidates and parties. That is definitely quite a sizeable amount. Charlie Baker, the current Governor of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Robert DeLeo, the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, are among these candidates to have received substantial sums of money from the drugmakers and their supporters.
The sturdy restrictions that Massachusetts has passed on heroin and opium are because of the recent overdose epidemic. As for the painkillers industry, they claim that they are equally dedicated to resolving these problems, such as encouraging health and medical professionals to make more cautious prescriptions. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America even assure that its members give their full support for national action and policies that are targeted towards opioid abuse.
In recent years, Massachusetts has experienced a sudden rise in deaths related to opioid overdose. In 2015 alone, the record reveals that more almost 1,380 people died due to an unintentional, opioid overdose. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate and when compared to the morphine, it is approximately anywhere between 50 and 100 times more potent. Fortunately, there are currently a large number of penalties on the manufacturing and supplying of this drug in Massachusetts.
Another tough legislation was eventually passed in Massachusetts last year and under that legislation, anyone charged for the trafficking of fentanyl in the state can be punished with up to 20 years in prison. Yet, opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts still continue to soar, despite this seemingly successful blitz against these drugs.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently published their preliminary data for the first half of this year. A toxicology screen specified in the data reveals that 66% of deaths this year that have been confirmed to be a result of an opioid overdose as a result of taking fentanyl. In comparison to 2015’s data, this is a 3% rise.
Potent opioid painkillers like fentanyl have been accessible in Massachusetts ever since 2014 and the state has been making consistent efforts to curb and obstruct that access. Back in the 2014 when Deval Patrick was the governor of Massachusetts, he took the initiative to place a ban on Zohydro for the first time in the U.S. as a means of bringing down the state’s opioid abuse crisis.
Yet the ban had been blocked a federal judge simply because the opioid painkiller had been approved by the FDA. Even in the face of such opposition, the state of Massachusetts will hopefully continue its battle against this nationwide epidemic until it has been exterminated.