Even if you only occasionally pay attention to the news, you’ve probably heard about America’s “opiate crisis.” America has seen its share of drug problems in the last few decades–notably, the crack-cocaine epidemic that hit the inner cities in the ’80s and ’90s. Maybe you’re wondering, “Does the so-called opiate crisis really warrant the concern that it receives?”
In this article, we’ll look at the origins of the opiate crisis as well as the government’s response to this growing concern.
highlight some important statistics about the abuse of opiates and opioids, as well as the overdose levels, and other crucial numbers to show just how bad this crisis in America has gotten in recent years.
Origins of the Opiate Crisis
The late 1990s saw many pharmaceutical companies assuring the public that prescription pain pills were not addictive. These medications were widely distributed, and the results began to crop up shortly after.
Some of the most commonly abused opiate/opioid drugs include:
Many blame the crisis on the economic downturn of these areas, claiming that the hopelessness, poverty, and increased free-time have created the perfect conditions for this crisis to thrive.
Others, however, point to the “pill farms” that have “mysteriously” sprung up around areas of West Virginia, Appalachia, and mid-Atlantic areas of the East Coast. Many journalists have claimed that these “doc-in-a-box” clinics offer pain prescriptions in a practically “no questions asked” environment.
Whatever the origin, the crisis appears to be hear to stay.
The Opiate Crisis: Statistics You Need to Know
It’s hard to understand a public health crisis in abstract terms, so we want to share some statistics the public should know about opiate and opioid use in America today. Here are some of the most alarming stats we’ve found that put this issue in its proper perspective:
- More than 110 people die in America each day from opioid overdoses.
- The estimated cost of the opiate crisis is over $78.5 billion every single year (and the number may keep rising)
- It’s estimated that 1/4 or more of patients prescribed opioids will either misuse them or become addicted to them
- 10% or more will develop a disorder related to opioid use
- Around 5% of opioid addicts will transition to street drugs like heroin, due to their availability and lower cost
- The areas worst hit by opiates/opioids include the Appalachian area–especially West Virginia, as well as rural areas of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia
The Response to the Growing Health Crisis: Is It Enough?
The government has taken many actions to combat this burgeoning crisis. Their efforts have the following goals in mind:
- Improving nationwide access to recovery and treatment
- Promoting overdose-reversing drugs like Narcan
- Cutting-edge research on addiction and effective pain management
Many critics wonder if their efforts are enough to even put a dent in the growing crisis. Their concern is understandable–while there are nearly countless organizations determined to put up a fight against the seemingly hopeless cause, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are springing up in more and more states.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Opiate/Opioid Addiction
Opiates and opioids are among the most addictive drugs in the world. The risk of developing a dependency on these pills is over 25%. This makes it extremely difficult for the healthcare industry and government institutions to provide adequate treatment.
If you are worried about your use of opiates, or of a loved one’s, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible. We double our urging if you’ve ever turned to purchasing these or similar drugs from dealers on the streets, or if you’ve ever insufflated (snorted) or injected these drugs into your bloodstream.
Here’s another reason we urge you to find help through a rehab facility or hospital: fentanyl and heroin notoriously vary in purity–one time, you’ll get a low-strength batch; next time, you might get something twice or three-times the strength. This is one of the primary causes of opiate/opioid overdoses.
The opiate crisis in America has gotten to a point where few people remain completely unaffected by it; we genuinely want that to change. Rehabilitation and detox clinics are a viable lifeline for even the poorest, most-addicted victims of the opiate crisis. There are opiate addiction treatment options available for you. If you’re suffering from opiate addiction, we hope you find a treatment option that works for you; you deserve another shot at living a hopeful, healthy life.