Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2019

Department 1

Health Sciences


Prevalence of chronic pain and health care costs have caused an escalation of opioid dependency. The current national crisis involving opioid dependency and drug overdose are growing problems that need to be addressed. Since 2000, there has been an increased awareness of pain relief; more people are looking at alternative ways to induce pain relief and stricter guidelines in prescription of addictive opioid medications (Manchikanti et al., 2012). Despite growing efforts, opioid use and dependency has risen dramatically in the past few years; since 1999, there has been an increase in the number of opioids sold and opioid-related deaths in the USA (Manchikanti et al., 2012). Opioid misuse is the leading cause of accidental overdose and death (Compton & Volkow, 2006). In 2015, more than 40% of the world’s supply of thebaine, the main ingredient in hydrocodone and oxycodone, two forms of opioids, was consumed by the USA (Hedegaard et al., 2017). In 2008 there were 36,450 drug overdose deaths and 14,800 of those deaths were related to opioid pain relievers (CDC, 2011). By 2017 there were a total of 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the USA (Hedegaard et al., 2017). While short term use of opioids has benign effects, long-term usage has meaningful effects on rates of abuse or addiction (Compton & Volkow, 2006). It is estimated that over 4.3 million US adults are taking opioids regularly in any given week; opioids are one of the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the US based on a nationally-representative telephone survey (Parsells et al., 2008).


Written for HS 311: Neuromuscular Physiology.