More than 1.2 million more people across North America are expected to die of opioid overdoses by 2029 if dramatic interventions are not taken to prevent it, the Guardian reports. A Lancet report, prepared by the Stanford-Lancet commission on the North American Opioid Crisis, is a wide-ranging analysis that seeks to highlight evidence-based recommendations on the opioid crisis. The report predicts that the number of overdoses will “grow exponentially” in the next seven years 1.2 million people. Such a figure would represent a doubling of the number of deaths seen over the last two decades. Provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that during the year ending in April 2021, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses, including more than 75,000 whose deaths involved opioids.
In North America, more than 600,000 people have died of opioid overdoses since 1999. The opioid epidemic is broadly recognized to have started when drug companies aggressively and fraudulently marketed opioids despite evidence they were being abused and diverted. Weak regulation, poor addiction treatment services and disinvestment in preventive measures make the U.S. particularly vulnerable to future waves of addiction epidemics involving other drugs. Even if lawmakers only tackled the influence of pharmaceutical companies, such a change would represent a dramatic realignment of power.. The pharmaceutical and health industry spent more than $352 million lobbying members of Congress in 2021.