The fact that the United States is in the midst of an “Opioid Crisis” or an “Opioid Epidemic” is old news. Statistics are staggering when we look at the number of people who are addicted to opioids and the rising number of opioid deaths each year.
According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse article published in June 2019, 19.5 million females (or 15.4 percent) ages 18 or older have used illicit* drugs in the past year. *The term “illicit” refers to the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana according to federal law, and misuse of prescription medications.
Of all the substances that people abuse, only one fits into ALL the following criteria: socially acceptable, over-the-counter accessible, the cost is not prohibitive, legal for adults to purchase in all 50 states, and often viewed as harmless or a normal rite of passage into adulthood. This magic elixir is alcohol.
While the lead headline from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) touted “Marijuana use at historic highs among college-age adults,” the institute could have also released some positive headlines.
It’s National Recovery Month, and according to the Orleans Parish Coroner’s 2018 report, deaths caused by the lethal synthetic opioid have doubled in recent years.
A recently released report suggests that there will be an increased need for recovery services in the years ahead.
Over the past 15 years communities have been affected, families destroyed, and thousands of individuals have died during the ongoing opioid epidemic. In only six years, statistics show that the rate of overdose deaths doubled from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016.
A U.S. Government-sponsored task force this week released a report recommending that primary care physicians routinely screen their patients for illicit drug use. The recommendation is similar to the task force’s now-followed recommendation that primary care physicians routinely query their patients about drinking and smoking habits.
To begin to calculate the value of treatment for substance abuse, it is helpful to first understand the costs related to substance abuse. Substance abuse impact is expensive, not just to the person using the substance, but to their family, workplace and society.
Despite all the hype new substances of abuse get by the media, opioids are still around and still taking a deadly toll on people who abuse them. But what are the facts about opioids?