The opioid crisis cost the US economy $504 billion dollars in 2015, according to an article from Reuters this year written by Lucia Mutikani and Ginger Gibson. The authors of the article were relaying information taken from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
There is no reason to expect this number to improve any time soon, either. If indicators are correct, as numbers become more available for 2016 and 2017, you’ll see this amount explode.
The opioid crisis has reached the point that President Trump was forced to declare it a public health emergency.
The article goes on to discuss the fact that there was a total of $221 billion to $431 billion in lost economic output due to there being 33,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015. The wide range in dollar amounts is to take into account the fact that there are several different models, but I think you get the idea. It’s incredibly significant.
“The crisis has worsened, especially in terms of overdose deaths which have doubled in the past ten years,” the CEA said. Wow. And, if I’m correct, you can compare the crisis to a fire. While it may have taken 10 years to double (which is bad), I believe the rate of expansion of the problem has increased exponentially.
The article wraps up by citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying more than 100 Americans die daily from related overdoses. On top of that, new information is out that opioid-related deaths have now surpassed breast cancer. I love that the NFL does the pink uniforms during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I’m wondering if now we’ll start seeing a specific color and more awareness for the Opioid Addiction Awareness Month or something of that nature. It’s bad, y’all.
How bad is it? It’s so bad that a recent article in The Guardian says that B>overall life expectancy in the US has declined for the second year in a row as a result of the opioid crisis. Can you imagine? It’s the first time in 50 years that the US life expectancy has gone down for 2 years in a row. The last time was the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and sixty-three!
The article in The Guardian was written by Jessica Glenza and was published on December 21, 2017. In the article, she shares that there were 63,600 opioid-related deaths in 2016 which was an increase of 21% from the 2015. These numbers came from the National Center for Health Statistics.
As I hinted in the beginning of this blog, early indications for 2017 aren’t looking very bright. Robert Anderson of the National Center for Health Statistics says of 2017, “It doesn’t look any better.” Anderson goes on to say, “We haven’t seen more than two years in a row in declining life expectancy since the Spanish flu – 100 years ago,” said Anderson. “We would be entering that sort of territory, which is extremely concerning.”
There are guesstimates that this crisis is going to take a good 10-20 years to turn around now that multiple generations are already hooked.
Realizing that the first phase of the opioid crisis was started by physicians over-prescribing these opioids, the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians have really stepped up in a way that I would believe most alternative caregivers would describe as rather unexpected considering the history of these organizations. They have consistently and constantly attacked – verbally, in the courts, and legislatively – just about any and all alternative healthcare protocols up to this point in history.
However, in new recommendations put out in February of 2017, the American College of Physicians have now started recommending Chiropractic, Massage, and/or Acupuncture as first-line treatment for acute and chronic low back pain before even taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen.
Quickly thereafter (2 months), the American Medical Association published an article in its journal called Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in support of the updated recommendations made by the American College of Physicians.
It took a national emergency of epic proportions started in part by the medical profession itself, but now, finally, we have some realistic and responsible recommendations coming from the medical field on safe and conservative means of treating uncomplicated musculoskeletal conditions. I would say they need to go ahead and expand it to the entire musculoskeletal system, but acute and chronic low back pain is a good starting point I suppose.
In the end, it is my firm belief that patients are entitled to the best treatments that do the least harm. There is nothing out there safer and more effective than chiropractic, massage, and/or acupuncture.
Through the years, I have carried with me a wonderful quote by Dr. Lee Green, a Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. He said, ”Neck pain is a mechanical problem, and it makes sense that mechanical treatment works better than a chemical one.”