America has seen an increase in opioid addiction by more than 3,000 percent, between 2007 and 2014. The opioid epidemic has gone national.
These conclusions show that the opioid problem is already mainstream. Experts have found that there are huge rates of opioid addiction and abuse, adverse effects of heroin or other types of illicit substances, including prescription drugs.
Since 2011, the problems increased dramatically. Patients of younger ages, from 19 to 35 were most at risk of being diagnosed as addicted to opioids. Addiction is defined by increased tolerance, withdrawal syndrome or unsuccessful attempts to quit.
Heroin overdoses were more common in younger patients rather than older ones. Patients who have visited their physician with an addiction diagnoses rose from 217,000 in 2007 to nearly seven million in 2014.
That 3,000 percent increase is a lot. A dramatic rise over a short period of time is the basic definition of an epidemic. It’s going to take a lot of time and energy to prevent new cases and treat people who are already addicted.
Other alarming findings include:
Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with addiction. But women are more likely than men to overdose. Rhode Island has the highest rate of problems with illicit substances. Maine and Montana have the lowest such rates.
The problem could be linked to the way opioid medicines are prescribed by doctors. Many get the drugs illicitly from dealers, or family members. Young people begin to take prescription drugs, but then they start using street drugs like heroin, as they have a hard time keeping their opioid supply from the doctor.
Older patients do not turn to street drugs, as they get easier refills from the doctor. The data collected from IMS Health shows a huge spike in drug use, between 2000 and 2012. More than 280 million prescriptions were given.
In July of this year, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act was signed by the president. This act will try to make treatment and prevention more commonly available.
However, critics say that the act is underfunded. The data centralized shows it is a problem across all society’s levels, it’s not just an issue of the poor and unemployed anymore.
What’s your opinion on this sensitive issue? Leave a comment below! Thank you.
Image Source – Pixabay