To say there’s an opioid epidemic in the United States is almost an understatement. Experts say that the problem is the worst public health crisis in all of American history. To make matters worse, it doesn’t look like the situation will improve anytime soon.
What Are Opioids?
In short, opioids are prescription-strength pain relievers. They restrict pain signals from reaching the brain and are extremely addictive. Overall, these drugs are easy for people to abuse and get their hands on. Common opioids include:
The Opioid Epidemic Continues
The biggest concern in regard to opioids is the growing number of people who use them. Unfortunately, people can get them at a young age and doctors often prescribe them to patients. In many cases, teens get their first taste of opioids after taking their parents’ prescriptions.
In 2015, opioid overdose was the cause of death for over 52,000 Americans. This number has nearly quadrupled since 1999. In fact, it now outnumbers the death toll from the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. It also outnumbers the crack and heroin epidemics in the 1980s.
In addition, life expectancy in the United States has fallen as a result of high opioid death numbers. Experts say that life expectancy fell in 2015 after showing no increase since 2013. While there are other factors to blame, opioids are the number one contributor.
Opioid Abuse Continues to Spread
In 1999, opioid abuse was largely a problem for Western states. California and New Mexico had the highest rates of opioid abuse. Fast forward to 2015, and opioids are a problem in Eastern states as well. For example, New England, North Carolina and Kentucky have seen an overwhelming increase in opioid usage.
Are Doctors to Blame?
Some say that doctors are to blame for the increase in opioid addiction. While it’s true that they overprescribe these drugs, the problem may lie with the pharmaceutical companies. Overall, they tend to give doctors kickbacks for prescribing opioids.
While most doctors stop prescribing them after a few refills, it might be too late by then. Opioid drug withdrawal makes it hard for people to quit taking these drugs.
Find Out How to Fight Back Against the Opioid Epidemic
At Red Oak Recovery® in Asheville, North Carolina we strive to give young adults the help they need to overcome addiction. We provide a number of unique addiction treatment programs that fit the needs of our clients, including:
- Gender-specific substance abuse treatment
- Holistic services with wilderness and adventure therapy
- Dual diagnosis program
- Residential rehab
- Outpatient rehab
Don’t let yourself or a loved one become another opioid overdose statistic. Learn what it takes to overcome opioid addiction. Reach out to our friendly staff today at 866-457-7590 for more information.