In America, as many people die from car crashes as they do from opioid overdoses. That is actually quite insane when you think about it. In the last 20 years, far too many people have died from accidental overdoses of opioids.
People keep overdosing accidentally because often they don’t realize the dangers of strong prescription painkillers prescribed to them by a doctor, or their addiction got too strong. When you grow physically dependent on an opioid, you don’t even realize how much you are putting into your system.
The United States has been doing its best to fight this epidemic of drug overdose deaths, but it has been going on for a while without much change.
What We Are Dealing With
Opioid drugs are a category that has quite a few different types of drugs within it. They are drugs that can work with preventing pain and affecting the reward centers of the brain. That is what makes them useful yet oh so addictive.
You’ve most likely heard of morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone. All are prescribed regularly to treat pain, the first two even being used to help with labor pains. Obviously, there are many good things that these opioid drugs can do when used properly.
Too easily thought people become physically and mentally dependent on opioid drugs and that is where the addiction cycle begins to take over.
A Few Statistics To Look At
The opioid epidemic statistics shed a lot of light on this situation. Opioid-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999, and there really is not any evidence of it slowing down any time soon. The cost of this problem is also nothing to scoff at. $78.5 billion dollars have been lost so far, and reports estimate that at least half a million people may die from this in the next decade.
It is too common to see people using prescription drugs without a proper prescription. This is what leads a lot of people down a dark path because it can be so easy to get addicted and then not know what to do.
Of course, prescription drugs can be hard to get ahold of, so many turn to synthetic opioids like heroin or fentanyl, which can be even more dangerous. Both of these drugs are taken in ways that are harmful to the body and can easily cause an overdose because of how strong they are.
The opioid epidemic can often stem from prescription misuse, but that isn’t the only way it starts. People sometimes use drugs illegally to help them relax or because they enjoy the high. The addiction escalates from there.
Addiction And Mental Health
There is also an ongoing mental health crisis in the United States where people don’t get the proper mental health care they need. Those who suffer from mental disorders are more likely to become addicted. This is because many people try to self-medicate.
Self-medicating is when you use drugs or alcohol to curb the symptoms of a disease or disorder, without doctors approval. The problem is that without proper dosage the likelihood of addiction or an overdose very much goes up.
The people who use drugs and have a mental disorder are even less likely to seek treatment than other people. This is because of their mental problems which drug use can make worse.
Drug overdoses are actually the number one leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 50. The problem is quite apparent, and the United States is still struggling.