How medtech could stop the drug overdose crisis in the U.S.

The opioid epidemic is one of the deadliest problems facing the U.S. today. Through the development of new pain management devices, medtech could be a leader in solving the crisis.

The prescription opioid overdose crisis in America didn’t start until the late 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies touted prescription painkillers that weren’t supposed to be addictive. As a result, medical professionals more frequently prescribed opioid painkillers.

Since then, opioid-related deaths have seen a steady increase. From 2000 to 2014, nearly half a million Americans died from a drug overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 50,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2015. Of those deaths, 33,000 were opioid-related.

The Council of Economic Advisers reports that the opioid crisis had an economic cost of $504 billion in 2015, and prescription opioid misuse increased healthcare and substance abuse treatment costs by $29.4 billion.

“A key solution to the current national crisis of opioid abuse is providing access to alternative pain management solutions for the people who need them,” said Shaye Mandle, CEO of the Minnesota-based Medical Alley Association. “The medical device industry currently delivers many non-opioid alternatives and can play a leadership role in addressing this epidemic.”

Medtech could play a role in helping to curb the opioid epidemic with new technologies being developed to treat chronic pain and reduce opioid prescription abuse. There are hundreds of devices and technologies currently on the market that are designed to reduce pain. These include technologies that treat acute pain, technologies that treat chronic pain, devices for medication management and pill dispensing, diagnostic tests that can monitor overdose risk, and technologies that monitor withdrawal and prevent overdoses.

By Danielle Kirsh | Medical Design & Outsourcing

Image Credit: Business Insider


About Peter Coffaro 602 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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