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Drug Overdoses Have Tripled in the Last 6 Years

PT221171Every country has some cases of delinquent individuals who will do drugs. In the United States however, it is more on a problem of general concern. Drug overdose is known to kill; unfortunately, it is also known to have tripled in the last six years in America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose-related deaths in the U.S. nearly tripled between 1999 and 2014. This is quite a problem, and deserves a considerable amount of attention given the disastrous consequences drug abuse could have on an individual.

You would probably be hoping that as time goes on, people get more sensitized treatment for addiction becomes much more available and affordable hence drug abuse damages reduce in the society. That unfortunately has not been the case. The CDC reports that from 2014 to 2015, the number of drug abuse related deaths increased by nearly 16 percent, with 72 percent of these from heroin and synthetic opioids.

According to Linda Richter, Ph.D., director of policy research and analysis at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, which are mixed with heroin or used on their own, are much more potent than heroin and more resistant to opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone. They are cheaper to make than heroin and are flooding some states, like Ohio, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.”

This probably explains why these states have some of the highest percentages of drug abuse in the United States.

More men are known to die from drug abuse than women. However, there has been a 117 percent increase in deaths among young women below 24 compared to men. Jennifer Wider, M.D., a women’s health expert has an explanation for this. She notes that there are several factors behind the increase, the first of them being the fact that prescriptions for opioids have been rapidly increasing.

According to CDC data, the number of prescriptions for opioids increased nearly four times between 1999 and 2014, yet there has not been a change in the amount of pain that Americans report.

According to the CDC, medical practitioners including pain medicine specialists, surgeons and physical rehabilitation specialists prescribe the drug quite a lot. Primary care physicians however account for just about half of opioid pain reliever prescriptions.

Wider notes that, “Doctors need to better educate patients on the risks of these medications and perhaps reserve them for severe pain cases.” She notes that these medications are dangerous and have a high addictive potential. The M.D. says people need to be schooled on when and how to deal with these prescription drugs in order not to fall prey to addiction in the cause of taking them.

One of the probable reasons why drug overdoses and their consequences on humans tripled in the last six years is the difficulty with which America’s health system has had to deal with the problem. Richter notes that “There are effective medications to treat opioid addiction, but medication-assisted treatment is not available to most people who could benefit from it.” She adds that America does not have enough eligible doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, and there are limits to how many patients physicians can treat this way.  

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