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Opioids by the Numbers

A research study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows evidence that between the years 2000 and 2017, drug overdose and suicide rates in the United States have nearly doubled. The number of deaths from suicides and unintentional overdoses went from 41,364 in 2000 to 110,749 in 2017. Something else that has increased in the last 20 years? The rates of opioid painkiller prescriptions as well as the illegal use of fentanyl and heroin.

The opioid epidemic in this country is showing no signs of slowing down. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, approximately 2.5 million Americans were suffering from either a prescription opioid and/or heroin addiction in 2015. For some individuals who can no longer obtain prescription opioids but are already addicted, the switch to heroin appears to be their only choice. However, there are treatment options available to stem the tide of opioid addiction and help individuals recover.

Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of medication such as methadone, buprenorphine, and/or naltrexone to combat opioid addiction. Along with counseling, these medications can provide much needed assistance to combat opioid cravings and promote addiction recovery. This evidence-based practice has proven its effectiveness in releasing individuals from the hold of opioid addiction.

Prevention efforts are also needed to stop opioid addiction before it starts, such as educating against non-medical use of opioid prescriptions by friends or family members. Imagine a scenario wherein you hurt your back, and your friend or relative offers you a leftover painkiller from their dental surgery. Would you take it? This is the beginning of addiction for too many individuals, who at the time have no idea what they are starting. If the numbers shared at the start of this post didn’t scare you, the idea of one misstep leading to addiction should.

Main St. Psychiatry offers medication assisted treatment for both opioid and alcohol addiction. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, call us today to learn how we can help and support you on the path to recovery. See the links below for more information and statistics on opioid addiction.

Original material found at: https://psychcentral.com/news/2019/01/07/opioids-linked-to-doubling-of-suicides-overdoses-since-2000/141807.html