02-19 | CDAH Team
The alarming rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States stresses on the fact that drug addiction has snowballed into a major health concern today. Looking at the worsening situation, Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has given it the status of an epidemic, just like the HIV epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s, said a report in the New York Times.
According to the new county-level estimates released by the CDC, the effect can be felt in almost all the counties. As per the report, Anderson said that though HIV was mainly an urban phenomenon, drug overdoses are common for both rural and urban sections of the society. According to the CDC, the number of drug overdose deaths touched 47,055 in the U.S. in 2014, or about 125 Americans daily.
The Barack Obama administration has been trying its best to check the growing problem of drug and opioid addiction. The government announced in October 2015 that it will work to give more access to drug treatment and more specialized doctors will be trained about opiate painkiller prescription. In his final address before the joint session of the Congress on January 12, the President did not forget to mention about the need for an extra effort to tackle “growing opioid-abuse epidemic.”
The scenario in states reflects the worsening trend across the country. Today, West Virginia leads with the maximum overdose deaths in the country. In the last five years, the state witnessed 3,000 drug overdose deaths. It was West Virginia’s grave situation that led President Obama to organize a community discussion there on prescription drug and heroin epidemics.
According to a New York Times report, West Virginia and neighboring states have many blue-collar workers. “In that group, there’s just lot of injuries,” Dr. Carl R. Sullivan III, the director of addiction services at the West Virginia University School of Medicine said, adding, “In the mid-1990s, there was a social movement that said it was unacceptable for patients to have chronic pain, and the pharmaceutical industry pushed the notion that opioids were safe.”
After rules were implemented to check the rampant misuse of prescription painkillers, addicts started taking heroin, thus making it the leader of the epidemic. The report says that some of the largest concentrations of overdose deaths were in Appalachia and the Southwest. It’s been over a decade now that Appalachia is in the grip of overdose deaths and prescription drug addiction can be blamed for it largely.
Another problem area is New Hampshire, being thronged by the presidential candidates co-relating their personal stories related to drug addiction. In 2014, 326 people died from opioid overdose in the state.
New Mexico is another trouble state with high heroin overdose death rate since early 1990s. Another striking feature about the state is that addiction is getting passed to new generations. “Heroin addiction has been passed down from generation to generation in small cities around New Mexico,” said Jennifer Weiss-Burke, executive director of Healing Addiction in Our Community, a nonprofit group formed to curb heroin addiction.
According to denverchannel.com, on an average, Colorado witnesses 35 deaths a month from unintentional drug overdoses and holds 12th rank in the nation for abuse and misuse of prescription drugs. Four out of 10 Colorado adults have reported to misuse painkillers with 224,000 people misusing prescription medications every year.
With heroin becoming more popular, the nation is now grappling with the new problem of heroin addiction. Over 914,000 users were reported in 2014, a 145 percent increase since 2007.
According to American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), opioid addiction is driving the drug overdose epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014. The report added that an estimated 23 percent of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction.
An analysis by the New York Times of death certificates brought to the fore a startling fact regarding drug overdoses. After analyzing nearly 60 million death certificates collected by the CDC from 1990 to 2014, it came to the conclusion that the mortality rate of young whites has jumped up considerably, leaving behind the other groups. In 2014, with about 29,000 deaths out of 25 million whites aged 25-34, the rise was 24 percent. The figure rose by a mere 5 percent in 2014 for other groups.
Giving a new twist to the tale, a new study published in the Injury Epidemiology says that experts at Columbia University have predicted that overdose deaths may reach its zenith in 2017 and by 2034 it will again dip to reach the level that was witnessed in the early 1980s. According to the Wall Street Journal report regarding the study, the forecast is 16.1 deaths per 100,000 persons for 2017 and 1.9 deaths per 100,000 for 2035.
Overcoming the problem of drug addiction is a challenge, but with proper guidance it can be made easier. You may seek help from the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline. Our experts are available round the clock to guide you to the path of recovery. Call at 866-218-7546 or chat online now.