The Opioid Crisis – Did You Know?

PR Newswire PR Newswire • September 9, 2019

In recent years, the opioid crisis in America has impacted all backgrounds. As this epidemic continues to grow and destroy lives from coast to coast, many people are wondering how it ever got to this level. For some, the problem can seem like it appeared out of thin air. Others, however, understand that this is a deep issue that has been lurking under the radar for many years now. To get a better understanding of the state of things, take a look at these facts about the current crisis and educate yourself on important data.

1. Prescription Opioids Are an Origin Point

If you personally do not know anyone who has been affected by the opioid crisis, then you may not understand how someone gets addicted in the first place. Unfortunately, the truth is rough. For many, their doctors and primary care physicians are the people responsible for introducing them to opioids. For centuries, opioids have been used to reduce pain in those suffering from specific ailments. Though always considered somewhat addictive, many doctors prescribed these medications without fear that their patients would develop serious dependencies on the drugs.

Although research has proven that opioids are highly addictive, doctors still continue to prescribe opioids at an alarming pace. Statistics state that in 2017, doctors wrote more than 191 million prescriptions for the drugs. Around 80% of addicts who have been treated for addiction have reported that their primary care physicians were the reason they first started taking opioids. The fact that the doctor’s office is a point of origin for how many people became addicted to these medications showcases the unexpected nature and severity of the problem.

2. Addiction Costs Billions of Dollars

Quantifying the impact of the opioid epidemic can also shed light on the true problem facing the nation. Researchers have estimated that it costs billions of dollars each year to fight the epidemic and attempt to provide assistance to those suffering from addiction. When taking into account treatment services, health care, court costs and other factors, it is estimated that more than $78 billion is spent on handling the crisis. What’s more, financial experts have predicted that this number will continue to rise at a dramatic rate until tangible solutions for the epidemic are discovered and implemented.

3. Emergency Centers Treat Thousands Each Day

While the financial side of the epidemic can be overwhelming, the personal struggles happening within the crisis can truly be cause for pause. It was estimated in 2018 that on average, 1,000 persons each day were treated in emergency facilities for complications stemming from opioid abuse. In some regions where heroin use and addiction is prevalent, these numbers can be much higher. Of the people treated in emergency rooms each day, a percentage will overdose or die from their conditions.

4. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Is Rising

In the 1980s, the country experienced an epidemic similar to the opioid crisis in America with crack cocaine. One aspect of the crack cocaine epidemic that caused great concern was of babies born addicted to the substances from being exposed to the drug in utero. Research has proven that heroin and opioids produce similar effects in newborns. In addition, doctors have reported a rise in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition that causes babies to be born with severe addiction to opioids. From 2004 to 2014, roughly 32,000 babies were born with this condition. This complication can create lengthy and expensive hospital stays and jeopardize the health of a newborn child.

5. The Numbers Are Growing

Finally, one alarming fact consistent in research and reports is that the epidemic is on the rise. While people are becoming more aware of the issues that opioids can cause, statistics state that more than 11 million people misuse these drugs each year. Estimates predict that these numbers will continue to rise unless immediate changes are made to policy and the way that doctors prescribe specific medications. Without dramatic and significant changes to the current situation, it is expected that more and more people will continue to overdose from heroin and similar opioids.

People all over the United States are struggling with the impact the opioid crisis in America has had on friends, family and their communities. Each day brings new insight on how many people are overdosing or currently in treatment for addiction. When you take the time to educate yourself on the facts, it can help you learn what can be done in order to make improvements to the current state of affairs. Learn more and discover how you can take action and help those who are struggling with this disease.

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