The rise of the opioid crisis

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One of the most nagging questions about the opioid crisis is, “How did we get here?”

Dr. Sarah Kawasaki is an addiction medicine specialist, and the Medical Director of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. 

She says marketing by pharmaceutical companies worked too well to convince doctors that prescription opioids could eliminate pain with no side effects. 

“For a long time in the United States, we got involved with treating pain with opioids so much more than the rest of the world in a really rapid fashion. They really had no idea what they had done until it was too late,” said Dr. Kawasaki.

Multiple pharmaceutical companies will go to trial in March. They’re accused of knowing their pain pills were highly addictive, but still marketing them addiction-free.

If you, or a loved one, needs help recovering from addiction, this is a good phone number to call. 1-800-622-HELP (4357). It’s a national helpline staffed by trained professionals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It has been called 5,000 times so far this year.

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