By James D. Lakin PhD MD FACP CFI
FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner 

Opioid Epidemic An Aviation Concern


September 1, 2021

COVID-19 is storming back with the Delta variant. Yet another deadly epidemic lurks in the background, claiming many lives—opioid abuse.

According to government estimates almost one-third of the population suffers from chronic pain of one source or another. About 25 million people have moderate to severe pain to the point where activity and performance are severely limited.

So it’s not surprising that there is a large demand for the pain relief provided by opioids. In addition to illegally manufactured fentanyl and heroine,

misuse of prescription opioids such as morphine, Demerol, hy...

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