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The Opioid Epidemic in America and Pain

The Opioid Epidemic

In December, 2016, Thomas Frieden, MD, Chief of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), reported that in year 2015 the drug overdose death toll in America was the highest on record (1). More than 52,000 people died from a drug overdose; 33,000 of these deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid.  Dr. Frieden said that this situation was made worse by the wide availability of easily available illegal opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit synthetic opioids.  He indicated that control of this problem would be difficult.

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Is Alzheimer’s Disease Preventable?

Alzheimer’s disease is a very large, extremely costly, growing epidemic that affects older individuals.   The average per-person Medicaid spending for seniors with Alzheimer disease and other dementias is 19 times higher than the average per-person Medicaid spending for all other seniors. If no changes are made, Alzheimer’s disease will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050. Costs to Medicare and Medicaid will increase nearly 500 percent.

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