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It’s happening right now: the largest manmade epidemic in the history of the United States – and treating it will take time.

The problem is opioids, and Sandy Dettman, MD of Grand Rapids, Michigan, says trouble began when doctors made pain the fifth vital sign.

“I get your pulse, your blood pressure, your respiratory rate, your temperature – and ‘Do you have any pain?‘” she explains. “Most people, I’m guessing, answer yes to that. So now we have a doctor who’s faced with treating a fifth vital sign, that being pain.”

Dettman, an addiction medicine specialist, also blames pharmaceutical companies for pushing what they called non-addictive drugs to treat pain.

“Doctors were duped into thinking that OxyContin was non-addictive,” she continues. “The third thing that happened was patient satisfaction scores and institutions tying physician reimbursements to [those] scores.”

Today, Dettman says, the U.S. represents 4.4 percent of the 7.1 billion people in the world, yet the United States consumes nearly 90 percent of the world’s opiate supply.

“The number-one drug prescribed in the United States of America is hydrocodone,” the doctor adds. “We are in the midst of the largest manmade epidemic in the history of the United States.”

While the spending bill President Trump signed last week does provide $5 billion to battle abuse of opioids, the more talked-about idea involves Trump’s calls for drug dealers to be executed. Dettman isn’t on board with that approach.

“I respect President Trump, but I disagree with this option as a way to stop this epidemic,” she says. “The real work of recovery lies, in my opinion, with 12-steps meetings, individual therapy, group therapy and Jesus, [as] the job of all that psycho-social intervention is to help people learn to live life on life’s terms without using drugs.”

Dettman argues that drug dealers already know the risks include death.