4 Facts About the American Opioid Epidemic

The American opioid crisis has become a 21st-century disaster. It has taken thousands of lives and the United States has already spent more than $1 trillion to fight it. More the 100 people die every day because of opioid overdose, which includes both prescription painkillers and illicit drugs.

A recent government poll found out that every fifth American knows a person who was or still is an opioid or prescription painkillers addict. Even if you think that there are no drug-addicted people in your surroundings, you actually need to know the true damage from the opioid crisis. Here is the list of four striking facts about the American opioid epidemic:

1. About 38% of American adults have taken opioids

Did you know that in 2015, more than a third of adult Americans took prescription opioids? The poll in 2017 also showed that about 13% of those who took opioids used them without a prescription or for other purposes. However, despite the widespread distribution of drugs, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding them.

A lot of patients are sure that addiction won’t happen to them or their friends. And a lot of doctors are sure that addiction won’t touch their patients. This issue doesn’t allow people that are struggling with dependence to ask for help and also prevents medical workers from posing this problem to their patients.

2. Drug rehab is very difficult

People who are trying to recover from opioid dependence should change their lifestyle and daily routine to avoid such triggers. It might be difficult for them even to read or watch the news if an opioid overdose or drug use are mentioned.

Friends and relatives of drug abuse victims should be aware that addiction treatment NYC is slow and it may take a lot of time before the full recovery. This is a chronic disease and it doesn’t mean that the addiction victim is a bad person or doesn’t try enough to recover. However, treatment works much better for people who are receptive and get proper help. Strong and reliable support from beloved people is also very helpful. 

3. Dependence is hard to recognize at first

Due to the fact that opioids are usually prescribed for medical purposes, the development of addiction occurs slowly and imperceptibly. The addiction is too unvisible at first and not many people can recognize it in the early stages. In later stages, dependence becomes much more noticeable.

However, people can take some preventative steps to reduce the risk of dependence on prescription painkillers. Ask your doctor about , if you are not sure that taking opioids for pain is the best option for you. But if taking opioids is really necessary, use them only for a couple of days until you feel better.

4. We actually don’t realize how many people died

According to 2016 estimates, more than 42,000 people died only from an overdose of opioids. This means that about 20% of all deaths among young people were attributable to these drugs. But these figures make up only part of the whole death toll.

Between 1999 and 2015, approximately 70,000 deaths from an opioid overdose were not recorded or misclassified due to the coding in death certificates. Over 97,000 cases of unintentional overdose deaths in those years were encoded as “undefined” but researchers think that many of them died because of opioids.

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