Interview with struggling drug addict highlights opioid epidemic

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Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” takes an in-depth look at the growing opioid epidemic that is exploding across America and what is fueling the troubling statistics.

The special five-part series called, ” ‘Drugged’: Inside the Opioid Crisis,” gives viewers insight into the lives of those suffering immensely from opioid addiction and factors contributing to the national opioid epidemic.

According to the report, nearly 2.5 million people are hooked on opioids and experts claim that number is growing exponentially, which has health officials concerned if they can keep up.

The annual death toll for opioid-related deaths has skyrocketed from 8,200 in 1999 to over 33,000 in 2015, of which many of the deaths were linked to prescription use. Reportedly, 80 percent of opioid addicts claim they became hooked after being prescribed pain medications by their doctors.

During the 1990’s, pharmaceutical companies lobbied to relax some of the drug regulations in an effort to drive up profits. The result: massive numbers of prescriptions are being written for opioids and narcotics, and increasingly prescribed following less serious procedures like wisdom tooth extractions, says the report.

In the cases where patients do not use their full prescriptions, those unused pills are often sold for money and re-circulated throughout communities, which only furthers the widespread epidemic.

Carlson interviewed Jeff, an opioid addict, who became hooked after taking high doses of hydrocodone drugs–what he called “synthetic heroin”– to manage pain from a car accident.

Jeff explained that several medical professional were only able to help him using pain management prescriptions, which caused him to become addicted to massive dosages in order to deal with excruciating back pain. In his opinion, he feels that many medical professionals have adequate training to treat chronic pain conditions and patients are often not made aware of the potential risk of addiction with long-term use.

Jeff also stated that many doctors fail to mention that “as your tolerance to pain decreases, tolerance to pain increases.” He explained that patients keeping building to where they need more to manage the pain until they reach a point where doctors refuse to prescribe them more.

He recalled the grueling rehab process and agony he endured over the course of several years in coming off of the opioids, which he still continues to battle.

Watch the full interview below.


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