Opiates have been a help to the medical community and to suffering individuals for many years. They have also been misused and abused for just as long. Used in wars around the globe, for centuries, to make the perils of war easier on soldiers, the history of opiates is extensive and controversial.
Opiates originate from the poppy plant, the source of opium. Morphine and heroin are examples of drugs derived from opium. Some opiates are prescription drugs and others are strictly developed illegally.
However, many argue that opiates should be legalized to eliminate the troubles caused by black market activities. However, the more people who are exposed to the addictive affects of opiates, the more people will struggle with addiction, and all the illness, pain and deaths that come with it.
So, for the foreseeable future, illegal opiates will remain that way and prescription opiates will continue to be carefully regulated by the government. Since 1971, when Nixon first declared the “War on Drugs,” starting a campaign designed to target illegal drug trading, the battle between government and drug dealers has raged on.
Laws surrounding the illegal distribution of prescription drugs continue to be strengthened and enforced. Medical doctors who have capitalized on the profits available in the trade have been arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, even being charged in the overdose deaths related to their illegal drug dispensing activities.
Individuals who fraudulently change prescriptions or who seek painkillers from more than one doctor can also be charged and punished. Fentanyl and Oxycontin, some of the currently most abused drugs, are being watched and monitored, with people being arrested for their misuse and illegal sale every week.
The long history of opiates, combined with the fact that they remain useful for medical purposes, indicates that opiates will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future. As long as opiates are around, the government will continue to be charged with doling out consequences to those who misuse them.