This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The looming threat of opioids

Written by: | Published:

Now fears are growing that this crisis could be replicated in the UK

We’re wasting our time if we don’t get tough with drug dealers, and that toughness includes the death penalty,’ said the President of the USA, with typical bluster in a speech in late March.

He added: ‘The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty. Maybe our country is not ready for that, it’s possible, it’s possible.’

Mr Trump was not positing a solution to a boom in crack cocaine such as the one observed in the 1980s, or rattling his sabre at the narcos of central America. In fact, he was referring to an epidemic of what one may find in any medical practice around the world. But which has been described by some as the greatest public health crisis since the AIDS epidemic in 1980s: The opioid crisis.

It is thought that more than 115 Americans die a day after overdosing on opioids, while The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total ‘economic burden’ of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year.

Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016, and opioid overdose deaths were five times higher in 2016 than in 1999. Fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and many times that of heroin.

Now, fears are growing that this crisis could be replicated
in the UK.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.