The number of drug overdoses deaths in the United States topped 100,000 Americans annually for the first time ever, according to the latest data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The latest information comes from a 12-month period beginning in April 2020 and ending in April 2021. In terms of America’s addiction epidemic and opioid crisis, the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
While many federal and state governments and organizations have been proclaiming victory surrounding overdoses, overdose deaths, and the overall addiction crisis taking place throughout the country, this latest data provided by the CDC demonstrates otherwise. However, it is important to recognize that these numbers do not equate to the opioid epidemic that is so often mentioned in the media, but rather to a larger addiction crisis gripping the homes and the streets within every community throughout America.
What is Causing the Rise in Overdose Deaths in America?
Opioids continue to be the driving force of overdoses and overdose deaths in America, but the recent CDC data demonstrates that America is dealing with a much bigger issue- a true addiction crisis that may be driven by opioids, but also includes substances, both legal and illicit, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamine, and stimulants such as Adderall. What the CDC data showed was that the powerful opioid drug fentanyl is the cause of the majority of fatal overdoses taking place over that 12-month period of time, but that instead of victims thinking they were taking fentanyl or another type of opioid, instead they became fatal overdose victims by using non-opioid drugs like cocaine, Xanax, or Adderall that instead contained fentanyl. Counterfeit pills of Xanax or Adderall purchased off the streets contained lethal doses of fentanyl, and unsuspecting individuals died after using these substances. This is not an opioid problem, but rather an addiction issue that is killing drug users who are ingesting a poisoned drug supply.
Addiction and COVID-19
Additionally, the CDC data demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic, and the isolation and disconnection that occurred due to the pandemic over the last 12 months, exacerbated the issue. The issues created by the coronavirus pandemic (increased fear and panic, worsening mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, lack of connection and human interaction, financial stress and insecurity, and isolation) have been key contributors to the record-setting number of fatal overdoses in America.
An important statistic to recognize and understand related to these overdose numbers is how much and how quickly they have risen. In 2016, drug overdoses killed about as many Americans throughout the country as car accidents and gun violence combined. However, based on the newest CDC data, drug overdoses caused just about twice as many deaths from April 2020- April 2021. That exponential rise has taken place in under 5 years. Therefore, while there is some positive steps taking place regarding overdoses in America, including ongoing breaking of the stigma of addiction, an increase in harm reduction strategies, and more accessibility and use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, America continues to lose more and more people to drug overdoses each year.
Treatment for Substance Abuse and Addiction
Treatment for addiction is available for those in need and family members need to understand the gravity of the situation and the danger their loved one is in if they continue to use drugs. With the proper ongoing treatment and support, recovery from addiction is not just possible, but it is probable. However, individuals and families must understand the sense of urgency when it comes to getting a loved one help for their addiction. The numbers are clear- without treatment and recovery support, addiction is more fatal now than it has ever been.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.