Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from the Cato Institute, author Jeffrey A. Singer argues that opioid producers are not causing overdose and addictions rates to rise. Instead, criticism should be laid against the War on Drugs.

• Singer argues that the rate of opioid prescriptions has little to no relationship with the rate of overdose and addiction. What factors then cause addiction and overdose rates to rise?

• To learn about how opioids affect the lives of older people, click here.

[E]xtracting a pound of flesh from [opioid producers] won’t stop the overdose rate from climbing. That’s because the standard narrative that overprescribing of opioids caused the overdose crisis is based upon misinformation — as is the belief that opioids have a high overdose and addiction potential.

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clearly show no correlation between the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed and “past month non-medical use” or “pain reliever use disorder” among adults over age 12. As high-dose opioid prescriptions dropped 58 percent from 2008 to 2017 and overall prescriptions dropped 29 percent in that time period, the overdose rate continued to climb. Decreasing the availability of prescription pain relievers for diversion into the black market only drives non-medical users to more dangerous heroin and fentanyl.

In 2017, heroin and fentanyl comprised 75 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths. Deaths from prescription pain pills also involved drugs like cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, alcohol and benzodiazepines 68 percent of the time. Less than 10 percent of overdoses from prescription pain pills in 2017 did not involve other drugs.

Read the full article about scapegoating opioid producers by Jeffrey A. Singer at Cato Institute