Topic: Opioid Crisis
Country: United States
Delegate Name: Alexandre Morrison
The United States is one of the nations most severely impacted by the opioid crisis, with drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of death in people 18-45. In 2021, while still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, 80,411 people died by overdose. These people are primarily overdosing on “street drugs” when fentanyl, an extremely powerful opioid, is mixed into heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines. In the past five years, this has accounted for 75% of overdoses.
The problem is so dire that for the first time in one hundred years, America’s life expectancy rate fell due to the overwhelming amount of opioid-related deaths. The opioid crisis in America has been fueled by doctors overprescribing opioids, pharmaceutical corruption and market manipulation from the OxyContin producer, Purdue, and the illegal drug trafficking of heroin and use of fentanyl to adulterate “street drugs”. With a diverse set of causes and skyrocketing addiction rates, finding solutions to the opioid epidemic is of the highest caliber of importance.
The epidemic is complex and multivarious; there are no “easy fixes” or a single solution to the vast issues in our nation’s ongoing crisis. However, the United States proposes that centralized, standardized, comprehensive legislation is the best way to care for people who are opioid-dependent. National legislation is also essential in enforcing a distinction between medically necessary opioid prescriptions from illegal use, especially when America has stringent punishments for dealers, who can face decades in prison for nonprescription drugs. In creating our laws and policies, we should closely consult with experts, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, which has authority on drug-related issues. We can use informed guidance to set legal dosing limits that doctors cannot overstep. Experts should also develop guidelines for tapering users off of opioids safely to minimize the risk that they turn to nonprescription alternatives. These policies should be made so that individual patient needs are prioritized and may necessitate expanding insurance coverage for medical opioid-related costs.
For physicians, education on the relationship between opioids, addiction, and chronic pain should be compulsory. Furthermore, since privately owned clinics are the primary source of prescriptions, physicians deemed to be placing financial incentives over patient wellbeing should have their medical license revoked. The United States would also propose more research into practical ways to cope with the crisis through medication-assisted treatments (MAT), alternative therapies and pharmaceuticals for chronic pain, and increasing availability of Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. These steps become increasingly necessary when new drug-related threats emerge. We must be cognizant of the flaws in the medical system and realize that many drugs being prescribed can turn into the next addictive threat, as production technology increases. Overprescription and drug mixing will remain pertinent issues, and so we should establish a framework to prevent future crises.
Internationally, there is a serious disunity in nations’ efforts to combat drug usage within their populace. Delegate nations should prioritize stopping illegal manufacturing of opioids. As synthetic opioids grow in popularity, exercising precursor control becomes one of the most vital preventative measures countries can take. Since these drugs travel over borders and the problem is not relegated to one part of the world, the United States calls on nations to establish a unified plan. Additionally, we urge countries to cooperate regardless of external conflict in efforts to police the drug trade.