The Unfolding Global Tragedy of the Opioid Crisis

Shirley J. Davis
10 min readApr 2, 2020
Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash

When many hear the word opioid abuse, pictures of strung-out people sneaking around looking for drugs in back alleys come to mind. However, that image would not be an accurate one.

Opioids are abused by people from all walks of life and have quickly become a worldwide crisis.

The statistics listed below and see how severe the opioid crisis is around the globe.

Around 275 million people worldwide used drugs at least once during 2016. Among these people, 53 million people used some opioid substances. There were approximately 278,000 deaths worldwide from opioid substances. Over a lifetime the prevalence of dying from an overdose of opioids among users of them is 70%.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis it is important to talk about the opioid crisis because many people who have an addiction to them will be tempted to abuse them even further.

What are Opioids and Why Do Humans Abuse Them?

The United States National Institute on Drug Abuse describes opioids as follows:

“Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.”

Opioids are either drugs made from naturally occurring in plants such as the poppy, or synthetic derivatives formed in laboratories. These substances cause a person to feel relaxed and a sense of well-being that lasts for several hours.

When taken as prescribed by a doctor, opioids are an invaluable comfort to people who are suffering from severe pain. However, because these substances cause a feeling of euphoria on top of pain relief they can quickly become a problem.

Opioids cause euphoria in ways not fully understood by researchers today. However, the leading thought is that opioids produce surges of the chemical signaling compounds naturally found in the human brain.

These compounds are called endorphins. Endorphins along with other neurotransmitters (the chemicals in our brains that allow cells to speak to one another) affect the…

Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer in the U.S. My passion is authoring information about mental health disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder..