Updated: Jul 26
The U.S. Opioid Epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats of this era with about 760,000 people fatally victimized since 1999 and nearly 50,000 people dying because of overdoses only in 2019. Unfortunately, newer mega models are projecting even grimmer picture with projections to claim more than half a million more lives from 2020 to 2032. Scientists from Harvard collected federal data on Opioid use and related deaths in US from1999 to 2020 and built a model incorporating different aspects of the opioid crisis that have changed over the past 20 years like the price of heroin, the number of opioid prescriptions, the prevalence of fentanyl and the distribution of naloxone.
Although the epidemic is very complex with web of interconnected factors and the model relied heavily on feedback loops like an increase in fatal overdoses due to the presence of fentanyl, even under an “optimistic” scenario, 543,000 people would die between 2020 and 2032, whereas a “pessimistic” scenario would see 842,000 deaths over this period, according to Nature. Although US Department of Health and Human Services declared this as a public health emergency in 2017, newer and innovative approaches are highly warranted to combat this epidemic and reverse the course