“If we rely solely on controlling the supply of prescription opioids, we will fail miserably at stemming the opioid overdose crisis.”
~ Dr. Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
The drug crisis in America has never been this bad. Well over 70,000 people died from fatal overdoses last year. The majority of those deaths were due to opioids – prescription painkillers, heroin, and increasingly, ultra-powerful illicit synthetics such as fentanyl.
That is a 300% increase within one 20-year generation. In fact, every passing year the number of overdose deaths says the tragic new record.
And according to some experts, it’s going to get worse before it gets any better.
Addressing the Problem—But the Problem Has Changed
At first, it’s difficult to understand. Fatal opioid overdoses have continued to rise even though significant steps have been taken:
- Public awareness campaigns
- New prescribing guidelines
- Shareable databases
- Increased availability of Narcan
- Needle exchanges
But as the number of prescription deaths has started to plateau, the number of fatalities involving heroin has increased. And most significantly, the number of overdoses involving fentanyl and other such illicit synthetics has skyrocketed. In fact, researchers estimate that by 2025, about half of all new opioid users will start out will illicit drugs, rather than prescriptions.
And the other estimates are as equally distressing. Between 2015 and 2025:
- The number of opioid deaths will increase from 33,100 to 81,700.
- That is a jump of 147%.
- A total of 700,000 people will die because of opioids.
- 80% of those deaths will be from illicit fentanyl or heroin.
- Illicit opioid deaths will climb from 19,000 to 68,000.
- That is an increase of 260%.
At the same time, all of the current measures aimed at curbing prescription misuse will reduce painkiller overdose deaths by no more than 5%.
What Does This Mean to YOU?
This information highlights how big of a threat the drug crisis really is. Anyone who abuses any drug is quite literally risking their life. The challenge for the government and the medical profession is to continue developing and expanding treatment and harm reduction strategies. Dr. Chhatwal says, “A multipronged approach…will be needed to reduce the rate of opioid overdose deaths.”
For individuals and families, the challenge is to protect loved ones and themselves from what has been called the largest public health crisis in history. And if you or someone you care is struggling with addiction, the best thing you can do is get professional help.
In Southern California, you can find that help at Chapman House Treatment Centers. As one of the most-trusted outpatient drug rehab programs in Orange County, Chapman House offers a variety of treatment strategies that help you safely and successfully regain your sobriety and return to a happier and healthier life.
If you would like to break free from your opioid addiction, Chapman House TODAY.