Updated: May 24
The U.S. Opioid Epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats of this era with nearly 50,000 people dying from Opioid involved overdoses only in the U.S. in 2019. It has an estimated economic burden of $78.5 billion a year including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement alone in the U.S. Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared this as a public health emergency in 2017, newer and innovative approaches including the genomic approaches are highly warranted to combat this epidemic and reverse the course.
In an eloquent study, scientists explored the regions of human genome in neurons comparing control subjects to the ones who died of opioid overdoses. Despite being ethically controversial and challenging to attribute causality from these findings, they discovered three potential primary correlative findings highlighting the routes of potential innovation for the healthcare management of the opioid crisis.
Fig. 1. COVID-19 deaths
Fig. 2: Opioids overdose deaths.
While we wait on further investigations, these findings carry a huge potential in curbing the serious national crisis of misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
The complex detection technologies were developed under the strict guidelines of NYS DOH.