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Died from Opioid Overdose

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  • Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)
    Member of the Jackson 5 who later became a successful solo artist. Michael Jackson is known as the "King of Pop." He is one of the most commercially successful and influential entertainers of all time....

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What are Opioids?


Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain and produce morphine-like effects. Medically they are primarily used for pain relief, including anesthesia. Other medical uses include suppression of diarrhea, treating opioid use disorder, reversing opioid overdose, suppressing cough, and suppressing opioid induced constipation. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. They come in tablets, capsules or liquid.

The term "opioid" originated in the 1950s. It combines "opium" + "-oid" meaning "opiate-like" ("opiates" being morphine and similar drugs derived from opium). The first scientific publication to use it, in 1963, included a footnote stating, "In this paper, the term, 'opioid', is used in the sense originally proposed by George H. Acheson (personal communication) to refer to any chemical compound with morphine-like activities". By the late 1960s, research found that opiate effects are mediated by activation of specific molecular receptors in the nervous system, which were termed "opioid receptors". The definition of "opioid" was later refined to refer to substances that have morphine-like activities that are mediated by the activation of opioid receptors. One modern pharmacology textbook states: "the term opioid applies to all agonists and antagonists with morphine-like activity, and also the naturally occurring and synthetic opioid peptides". Another pharmacology reference eliminates the morphine-like requirement: "Opioid, a more modern term, is used to designate all substances, both natural and synthetic, that bind to opioid receptors (including antagonists)". Some sources define the term opioid to exclude opiates, and others use opiate comprehensively instead of opioid, but opioid used inclusively is considered modern, preferred and is in wide use.

There are a number of broad classes of opioids:

  • Natural opiates: alkaloids contained in the resin of the opium poppy, primarily morphine, codeine, and thebaine, but not papaverine and noscapine which have a different mechanism of action; The following could be considered natural opiates: The leaves from Mitragyna speciosa (also known as kratom) contain a few naturally-occurring opioids, active via Mu- and Delta receptors. Salvinorin A, found naturally in the Salvia divinorum plant, is a kappa-opioid receptor agonist.
  • Esters of morphine opiates: slightly chemically altered but more natural than the semi-synthetics, as most are morphine prodrugs, diacetylmorphine (morphine diacetate; heroin), nicomorphine (morphine dinicotinate), dipropanoylmorphine (morphine dipropionate), desomorphine, acetylpropionylmorphine, dibenzoylmorphine, diacetyldihydromorphine;
  • Semi-synthetic opioids: created from either the natural opiates or morphine esters, such as hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, ethylmorphine and buprenorphine;
  • Fully synthetic opioids: such as fentanyl, pethidine, levorphanol, methadone, tramadol, tapentadol, and dextropropoxyphene;
  • Endogenous opioid peptides, produced naturally in the body, such as endorphins, enkephalins, dynorphins, and endomorphins. Morphine, and some other opioids, which are produced in small amounts in the body, are included in this category.

History

Opioids are among the world's oldest known drugs. The medical, recreational, and religious use of the opium poppy predates the common era. In the 19th century morphine was isolated and marketed,[156] and the hypodermic needle invented, introducing rapid, metered administration of the primary active compound. Synthetic opioids were invented, and biological mechanisms discovered in the 20th century.

Non-clinical use was criminalized in the United States by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, and by other laws worldwide. Since then, nearly all non-clinical use of opioids has been rated zero on the scale of approval of nearly every social institution. However, in United Kingdom the 1926 report of the Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction under the Chairmanship of the President of the Royal College of Physicians reasserted medical control and established the "British system" of control—which lasted until the 1960s; in the U.S. the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 markedly relaxed the harshness of the Harrison Act.

Before the twentieth century, institutional approval was often higher, even in Europe and America. In some cultures, approval of opioids was significantly higher than approval of alcohol. Opiates were used to treat depression and anxiety until the mid-1950s.

Statistics:

Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.

Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

Most Commonly Overdosed Opioids resulting in deaths:

  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®)
  • Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®)

Among those who died from prescription opioid overdose between 1999 and 2014:

  • Overdose rates were highest among people aged 25 to 54 years.
  • Overdose rates were higher among non-Hispanic whites and American Indian or Alaskan Natives, compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics. 
  • Men were more likely to die from overdose, but the mortality gap between men and women is closing.

Drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States, according to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. The first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths shows roughly 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016.

Some opioid-related deaths may be missed when people die from pneumonia and other infectious diseases spurred on by drug abuse. Their death certificates may only list the infection as the cause of their demise, explained CDC field officer Victoria Hall.

Notables who died from drug overdoses:

  1. Wikipedia - List of deaths from drug overdose and intoxication
  2. CNN.com - Celebrities who died from painkillers & heroin (12 listed)
  3. CBS News - Celebrity Prescription Overdoses (11 listed)
  4. Just Believe Recovery Center - 8 Celebrities Who Died of an Opiate Overdose
  5. Ranker - Famous People Who Overdosed on Heroin (82 listed)
  • Judy Garland
  • Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Michael Jackson
  • Heathcliff Andrew Ledger - accidental intoxication from prescription drugs
  • Marilyn Monroe,
  • Jim Morrison,
  • Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016)
  • Ike Turner
  • John Belushi (1949-1982) after a “speedball,” a combination of heroin and cocaine together via the same syringe
  • River Phoenix ( -1993) 23y/o
  • Elvis Presley (-1977) 42 y/o
  • Michael Baze (1987-2011) American horse racing jockey
  • Lenny Bruce (1925-1966) stand-up comedian, satirist & screenwriter

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