In the U.S., a violent crime occurs every 26.3 seconds and a property crime happens every 3.8 seconds. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), over a two-year period in the U.S., 126,603 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys even left inside! Crime is all around us.
Auto theft and traffic accidents — responsible for 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017 — are serious problems that need to be addressed across the country. But one issue, which is ruining the lives of millions, needs to take priority: the battle against opioid addiction.
Heroin is a killer. This is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants. It’s a white or brown powder and is taking the lives of far too many Americans. In fact, in 2015, roughly 591,000 people suffered from a heroin use disorder, including 6,000 teenagers. This is an epidemic that needs to be addressed all over the country. From 1999 to 2017, nearly 400,000 people died from overdoses involving heroin, prescription opioids, and other illicit opioids — costing the U.S. an estimated $79 billion a year.
According to PEW, a landmark lawsuit could shine even more light on the battle against heroin and opioid abuse. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has agreed to pay $275 million to settle a lawsuit pertaining to the ongoing opioid crisis.
“We appreciate that Purdue Pharma and its owners chose to work constructively with us to resolve this litigation in a way that will bring to life a new and unique national center with the goal of creating breakthrough innovations in the prevention and treatment of addiction,” said Attorney General Mike Hunter.
The settlement absolves the organization of all claims in the Oklahoma Case, which precedes a federal opioid lawsuit slated for trial in Ohio in the fall. Purdue and other drug manufacturers face claims from more than 1,600 cities, counties, and states.
If you’re concerned someone you love is battling with a heroin or opioid addiction, keep an eye out for these warning signs:
- Replacing old friends with new ones who have bad reputations.
- Runny noses and eyes.
- A sudden drop in school or work performance.
- Syringes, tiny balloons, plastic bags, capsules, and other packaging materials left around.
- Pinpoint eyes.
- Abnormal sleeping patterns.
CNN Health adds that $102.5 million of the settlement will be used to help establish a national addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University. Another $12.5 million from the settlement will be used directly to help cities and counties with drug-related problems.
“It is a new day in Oklahoma, and for the nation, in our battle against addiction and the opioid epidemic,” Hunter said.