America has been in the grips of an addiction epidemic for decades. While the drugs and substances change, the end result is the same: chaos, broken families, overdose, tragedy, and death. While hope remains due to the millions of individuals and families that find recovery, millions more stay in the painful cycle of addiction.
The biggest recent issue within the addiction epidemic in America is the ongoing opioid crisis. Years ago, due in large part to the marketing of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin, America was gripped by opioids. Millions of Americans became addicted to prescription narcotics, some doctor shopping for multiple prescriptions, others turning to illicit street drugs like heroin, and more just staying in a cycle of physical dependency to their prescribed drugs. Because opioids are so powerful and can be so deadly, as the rise in opioid prescriptions and opioid use increased, so did overdoses. Now, as the opioid crisis rages on, America finds itself in a parallel crisis caused mostly by opioids: an epidemic of overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal overdoses.
As government and law enforcement began cracking down on legal opioids, drug dealers nationally and internationally began turning to cheap synthetic opioids, fentanyl most of all. A cheap synthetic opioid 50 times stronger and more powerful than heroin, fentanyl is a drug that is low cost and easily accessible, and drug dealers began mixing this powerful opioid with heroin. Drug users began seeking out fentanyl on its own, and now drug dealers are flooding the streets with counterfeit prescription pills, which are simply fentanyl pressed to look like medications such as Xanax or Adderall. There is little doubt as more and more dangerous and powerful synthetic drugs flood the streets, that the numbers of drug overdoses will continue to climb.
The following statistics represent how America’s overdose crisis is worsening:
- In 2015, the number of overdose deaths in America totaled 52,404.
- In 2019, the number of overdose deaths in America totaled 70,630.
- In 2020, as Americans were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, with increasing levels of isolation, disconnection, anxiety, and depression, the number of overdose deaths in America totaled 91,799.
And, in the most recent report out of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, as Americans continued to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout, there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during the 12-month period ending in April 2021. This was an increase of 28.5% for the number of people that died due to drug overdoses during the same period the previous year.
The drugs are getting more powerful and more dangerous. And they are becoming more easily acquired, both on the streets or through social media, where many young adults have turned to purchase illegal narcotics. As such, deaths of Americans due to drug overdoses are only continuing to increase.
Crack down by government and law enforcement agencies will help. So will education and prevention efforts. However, there is never going to be a stop to Americans using drugs, and the principle of supply and demand dictates that as long as Americans want to buy drugs, there will be individuals and organizations to supply them. Instead, as part of ongoing efforts, there also needs to be a bigger emphasis put on resources that include addiction treatment, as well as increased harm reduction strategies to help individuals stay alive. If someone is alive, they have hope of entering treatment. And if they enter treatment, and find high quality addiction treatment resources and support, there is hope of recovery. Millions of Americans and families everyday are impacted by addiction, but the stories of the millions of Americans that have taken the steps to pull themselves out of the grips of addiction and found recovery, offers hope, inspiration, and motivation that anyone still suffering from addiction can overcome their addiction, heal, and live a happy life in recovery.
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.