Deep Dive: The Opioid Tsunami

It’s been called the most perilous drug crisis ever. In the United States, the epicenter of the opioid epidemic, overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, killing 91 people every day. Pharmaceutical pain relief is an essential clinical tool, but with physicians writing some 240 million opioid prescriptions to Americans every year, the potential for addicition is enormous. Excerpts from the new HBO Documentary, Warning: This Drug May Kill You, are shown at this session, and make vivid the anguishing impact on families and communities. The bright spot here is that addiction is increasingly recognized as a medical, not a criminal problem, and new treatments are on the horizon. How do we protect the population from misusing opioids?

Festival: Spotlight Health 2017

More on this Session

Watch and Listen: Health

Sometimes, a single data point can arouse new insights, inspire a novel problem-solving approach, encourage a career... See more
Although infectious disease outbreaks, from influenza to Ebola, surface with alarming frequency, more than 80% of the... See more
Gun violence in the US is a public health epidemic. With partisan battles currently making state and federal... See more
Opioids have attracted much of the public attention given to drug abuse in recent years, but they are far from the... See more
Do we have a right to health care? The United States remains the only developed country in the world unable to come to... See more
In a wide-ranging interview with PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, best-selling author Atul Gawande explores some of the most... See more

Pages