Over the last two years, deaths from drug overdoses in the United States have risen to a higher point than ever before in history. Experts have attributed this increase to various causes, but the most likely is the increase in illicit street opioids like fentanyl and “pink.” Read on to learn more about how you can take action on this urgent issue.
In the third quarter of 2016, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose by more than three percentage points overall. For every 100,000 people, nearly twenty died of an overdose. Compared to 16.3 deaths per 100,000 at the beginning of 2015 and 16.7 in the third quarter of the year, the most significant jump seems to have occurred at the beginning of 2016, when the number sat at 18.9. Deaths from drug overdose on the whole, however, have seen a steady and dramatic increase over the past two decades. More than 60,000 Americans died as a result of drug use in 2016, compared to less than 25,000 in the year 2000.
According to a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine deaths from opioid overdoses may have been significantly underestimated over the past decade. The report estimates that much of this trend was simply due to misattribution of cause. The sharpest increase in death rates can be reliably linked to synthetic opioids, most commonly street fentanyl or other “designer” drugs, which are typically cut into heroin and which dramatically increase its lethality. These dangerous drugs, only recently linked to increased mortality, may not have been indicated on postmortems over the past few years.
Over the past few months, state governors and federal task forces have continually urged the White House to take more decisive action on the United States’ opioid crisis, which many medical experts are beginning to call an epidemic. While President Trump declared a state of emergency in early August, he did not sign a formal declaration or submit a proposal to Congress, steps which could set into motion decisive federal action on the matter.
In the meantime, many addiction specialists and public health experts are urging the public to stay alert to the signs and symptoms of drug addiction and to seek professional help immediately if they suspect a loved one is struggling. Overprescription of opioids can quickly lead to severe addiction, even with people who have never struggled with prior drug abuse.
If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from an addiction to these dangerous “street” drugs—or to any other substance—there is help available. All you need to do is ask. At CARUS Recovery, we specialize in helping families and individuals who have been affected by the opioid epidemic. With a variety of medically-based services and compassionate care programs available, our staff is committed to fighting this issue. Call 877-225-7724 to learn more.