August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. We grieve with friends and families around the world who remember those they have lost as a result of drug overdose.
On this day, we also seek to raise awareness about this issue. We also aim to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and drug-related death. One important way we can do this is by sharing data about just how rapidly this problem has grown, help doctors can take a stand, and offer drug addiction help.
A Growing Tragedy
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.” This increase in drug use corresponds to the sales of prescription opioids, which also quadrupled during that time. These trends directly correspond to the growing problem of opioid abuse in America, which reached epidemic proportions in 2014.
Most opioid overdose statistics relate directly to the increasing availability of prescription opioids. However, there is some crossover between prescription opioids and illicit opioids such as heroin. Once prescriptions run out, or once doctors grow suspicious of frequent refills, many patients turn to heroin as a cheaper, more accessible alternative to prescription opioids.
It is important for clinicians to know about the most commonly abused prescription drugs. These include methadone, Oxycodone as OxyContin, and Hydrocodone as Vicodin. The following opioid overdose statistics will assist you in understanding the full scope of the opioid epidemic in America so that you are readily equipped to handle opioid addiction in patients.
- Individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 have the highest opioid death rates.
- Although the mortality gap is closing, men are more likely to die from opioid overdose.
- 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014.
- 1 out of every 4 people who were prescribed opioids for long-term pain struggle with opioid addiction.
- 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every day due to prescription opioid misuse.
- Prescription opioids and heroin killed more than 28,000 people in 2014.
- 28 Americans die daily from an opioid overdose.
- Half of all opioid related deaths result from prescription opioids.
Combatting the Rising Opioid Epidemic
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has addressed opioid abuse and overdose. They did this by implementing evidence-based initiatives aimed at reducing opioid consumption and increasing awareness. These initiatives involve better informed opioid prescribing practices and increased use of the drug naloxone. They also include utilizing certain medications to gradually wean patients off of prescription opioids.
While implementing the aforementioned practices may contribute to reduced opioid overdose rates, it’s important to recommend a higher level of drug addiction help to patients in need. Lighthouse, a Recovery Centers of America Company, offers individualized treatment plans that use the latest evidence-based treatments available. For more information about treatment options available near you, please click the link or call us directly.