Coping With Addictive Opioid Markets

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

Spring 2021




Global Health, Opioid Use, Medication Assisted Treatment, Mental Health, Substance Abuse


Opioid dependence is a significant contributor to the global disease burden. Over the past generation, both the range of opiates and markets for the drugs have expanded to unprecedented levels. On the supply side, opioid drug markets have seen record levels of production and manufacture. On the demand side, nonmedical use of opioids and their synthetic analogues have reached epidemic proportions in parts of the world. Opioid dependence is a chronic disorder that prompts users to persist in using the drug despite the negative downstream effects of its consumption including imprisonment, exposure to infectious diseases, and possible fatal overdose. Social, political, geographical factors are important determinants of opiate dependence rates, morbidity, and mortality in a population. Drugs also play an important role in eroding stability and governance, particularly in low- and middle-income nations, through conflict, criminality, and corruption fueled by the profits of the opiate trade. Globally, there is increasing realization that combating opioid dependence is an essential component of a healthy and stable society. Despite this recognition, most individuals struggling with addiction do not receive appropriate care. The prevailing stigma across cultures and the criminalization of the disorder have largely shifted the opioid-dependent population into prisons instead of clinics, which has worsened the impact of opioid misuse.


Chapter in: Dyer A.R., Kohrt B.A., Candilis P.J. (eds) Global Mental Health Ethics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66296-7_12

Peer Reviewed


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