About 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can’t turn on the news without hearing about the next wave of overdose deaths from opioids such as heroin, the synthetic opioid, fentanyl, prescription painkillers such as oxycontin, and now the elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil.
Deaths from drug use are now the leading cause of accidental death in America, surpassing deaths by car accidents and guns. Overdose deaths have quadrupled since 2009. With the surging death toll, the annual costs of the opioid epidemic has also taken it’s toll on the economy. The CDC estimated that $20.4 billion was spent on direct and indirect costs related to opioid overdose alone. The yearly costs of misuse, abuse and overdose is estimated at $53.4 billion for nonmedical use of prescription opioids and $55.7 billion for opioid use disorder.
In a 15-year period from 2000 to 2015, half a million people died from drug overdoses. The hardest hit states, respectively include West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky and Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000).
The Prescription Drug Mania
Prescription drug abuse is often a gateway to heroin use. Four in five heroin users began by abusing prescription drugs first. In fact, most teens who use heroin started out abusing prescription painkillers prescribed from their doctors.
While heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl have taken their toll, prescription drugs are leading to more opioid overdose deaths than ever before. It’s estimated that 20.5 million people 12 and older in the United States struggled with a substance abuse disorder. Out of those numbers, 2 million people struggled with addiction to prescription painkillers and 591,000 suffered from heroin addiction, according to the 2015 National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
The amount of prescription opioids sold on the market has quadrupled since 1999. Consequently, deaths from prescription painkillers such as oxycontin, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are being sued due to the overwhelming surge in overdose deaths from addictive prescription painkillers. Attorney Mike Papantonio discusses the legalities in the video below:
Changing Opioid Prescribing Practices
Last year, President Obama approved $1.1 billion in funding for the fiscal year of 2017 and 2018 to allow more access for opioid treatment and address over prescribing and opioid abuse. Included in that budget is more expansive funding for medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorders such as treatment for pregnant and postpartum women, the use of buprenorphine by medical practitioners, and the use of naloxone by healthcare professionals and first responders.
In March 2016, the CDC also released its guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Some of those guidelines include:
- When to begin or continue treatment with opioids for chronic pain
- How to select opioid dosage, duration, follow-up and discontinuation
- How to assess risk and address harmful misuse of opioids
Last year in March, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs were implemented in 29 states to improve prescribing practices, which the CDC expanded to all 50 states by the end of the year.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Naloxone is the opioid overdose reversal drug that has saved many people from near death. Naloxone is injected into the muscle or through the vein. The medication blocks the opioid receptors and quickly reverses the effects of opioids by restoring normal respiration. Today, many health professionals, first responders and emergency personnel carry naloxone for preventive measures.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we provide comprehensive care with specialty services to treat opioid addiction and chronic pain. We provide holistic therapy, chiropractic services, vibroacoustic therapy through our serenity lounge treatment, biofeedback therapy and more. If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, we are here to help you detox and start living a fun and sober lifestyle. Reach out to our admissions team today and call 877-756-0372.