A Systematic Review of Opioids in the United States




Perkins, Chase

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The opioid epidemic is a prevalent concern in American society as overdose deaths continue to increase. Heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, hydrocodone, and krokadil are five of the most dangerous opioids and they are responsible for a significant portion of the opioid overdose cases. These drugs are all hydrophobic due to their chemical structure, allowing them to easily permeate the blood-brain barrier and agonize the mu-opioid receptor. Fentanyl, one of the synthetic opioids, is one of the most dangerous opioids as it is 80 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil is among the strongest of the fentanyl analogues. Krokadil is one of the newest opioids and is dangerous because it can easily be synthesized using household chemicals. To access opioids, users and dealers will typically utilize the Dark Web. Prescription opioids can be acquired through Pill Mills, and there has not yet been enough effective government legislation to limit prescription pill outbreaks. While addiction treatment has many promising potential treatments in herbal remedies, brain stimulation, and other medications, the most effective treatment for opioid overdoses is still the Naloxone injection. Overall, the opioid epidemic will continue to worsen due to ongoing synthesis of new synthetic opioids, the emergence of novel drugs such as krokadil, and the continuing ingenuity regarding opioid distribution on the internet.



Physical and Chemical Properties of Various Opioids, Metabolism of Opioids, Methods for Illegal Access of Opioids and Prices, Opioid Treatment and User Demographics