Media Awareness

2022 Was a Deadly (But Hopeful) Year in America’s Opioid Crisis

When the history of America’s long, devastating opioid crisis is finally written, 2022 may be remembered as both a low point and a turning point.

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Originally Published: December 31, 2022

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the avalanche of overdose deaths — driven largely by the spread of illicit fentanyl –may have crested in March.

Researchers found a staggering 110,236 people died in a single 12-month period, a stunning new record.

But there are signs help may finally be on the way.

The avalanche of drug deaths spurred a series of major reforms in 2022 to the way drug addiction is treated in the U.S., changes designed to reduce stigma and improve access to care.

2022 was also a year of corporate accountability.

Major drug companies, distributors and pharmacy chains reached settlements of opioid lawsuits filed by state and local governments totaling more than $50 billion.

Experts say that money, paid out over the next two decades, will fund treatment programs and other services that are desperately needed, especially in poor rural towns and urban neighborhoods.

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