As Americans, we’ve heard some facts about the opioid crisis, and are aware that it has caused many deaths. But, few people know how severe the problem has become in the last few years. Does it really matter if we know the facts and statistics about this epidemic? Can we do anything about it that hasn’t already been tried? Yes, it does matter, and we can take an active role in helping prevent opioid-related deaths. Keep reading to find out what you need to know and why it matters.
Facts About the Opioid Crisis You May Not Have Heard
When you think about opioid addicts, you probably visualize a dirty, homeless person who is starving or suffering multiple health problems from their addiction. But, one of your neighbors, a co-worker, your child’s teacher, or even your physician could be struggling with opioid abuse. So far, they’ve managed to keep it a secret. But, eventually, their addiction will worsen, and they won’t be able to hide it any longer.
To help you put the opioid crisis into a perspective that represents the shocking reality of the situation, take a look at these facts:
- In 2017, more than 47,600 people died from opioid overdoses.
- About 1.7 million individuals suffer from prescription opioid use disorders.
- More than 140 people die each day from opioid-related problems.
- The most frequently prescribed opioids are hydrocodone and oxycodone.
- Health care providers wrote more than 191 million prescriptions for opioids in 2017.
- Between 2007 and 2016, more than 6.2 billion hydrocodone pills were distributed in the US. More than 5 billion oxycodone tablets were distributed in the same period.
- About 15% of ER visits result in patients being prescribed an opioid painkiller.
- More than 11.4 million people misuse opioids, including heroin.
- The cost of medical care for opioid addiction and overdose reaches $78.5 billion a year.
- The number of pregnant women who use opioids increased by nearly 70% in two years.
- Almost 68% of the people who died from opioid overdoses in 2017 were men.
- Every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) attributed to the mother’s opioid abuse during pregnancy.
- In 2017, about 103,000 adolescents had an opioid use disorder.
- Since 1999, more than 9,000 children and teens have died from opioid overdoses.
- Fentanyl is responsible for more than 28,400 of opioid overdose deaths in 2017.
The above numbers represent the opioid crisis only. If we add the number of overdoses from other drugs, the total overdose deaths rise to over 70,200 in 2017. We also need to consider the 88,000 alcohol overdose deaths as well.
Why Should the Opioid Crisis Matter to Us?
The number of deaths from accidental opioid overdose eclipses deaths from all other drugs combined. Many of these individuals become addicted while taking opioids to manage chronic pain. The drugs are so highly addictive that a person can develop a dependence or addiction even while taking them as prescribed.
One reason we should be concerned about this is the fact that too many of these people are adolescents. Their young lives are cut short far too soon. Families suffer, and society feels the loss of those promising citizen’s contributions to their communities.
Overall, the facts about the opioid crisis show us that it has placed an emotional and economic burden on our entire nation.
What Can We Do to Prevent Overdose Deaths?
As we go about our daily routine, someone else dies from opioid-related causes. We can bring these numbers down. Thousands of organizations are dedicating their time to preventing overdoses by expanding education and awareness about the dangers of drug abuse, such as:
- SAMHSA’s Children of Alcoholics Week
- Alcohol Awareness Month
- Drug Awareness Month
- National Substance Abuse Prevention Month
- Red Ribbon Week
- National Recovery Month
- National Overdose Awareness Day
If you’d like more facts about the opioid crisis, contact us at Best Drug Rehabilitation today. Or, if you or someone you know needs treatment for opioid addiction, we can help you find a program that is right for your needs.
Article Source: bestdrugrehabilitation.com