Canada and the United States are going through a health crisis due to the generalized use of opioids. One third of Americans are suffering from chronic pain leading doctors to prescribe opioids 289 million times in 2016.
Opiate drugs are more expensive than heroin sold on the black market.
We have no reliable estimate of how many patients have grown dependent on opiates.
The Department of Health estimates that in 2015, the number of the Americans abusing opioids was 12.5 million, of which more than 33,000 Americans died from them. This year, the public health crisis has cost 78.5 billion dollars.
In 2016, the number of deaths by overdosing on opiate medication or illegal opiates in the United States was almost the same as deaths on the road and markedly higher than the victims of terrorist attacks in the entire world.
On 10 August 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis to be a “national emergency”.
A study by Professor Alan B. Krueger of Princeton University shed light on the close link between the opiate crisis and the collapse of the labour market.
A research, constituency by constituency, evidences that 50% of men aged 25 to 54 who are unemployed experience a sharp decline in their health, are no longer in a fit state to find work again; and are forced to take opiates every day. This observation is not proven for women.
Where Have All the Workers Gone ? An Inquiry into the Decline of the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate, Alan B. Krueger, Brookings Institution, September 8, 2017.