Opioid Overdose Deaths

Opioids are a class of drugs that are used to reduce pain in individuals. Prescription Opioids are prescribed by doctors to patients for pain relief. Opioids can help with moderate to severe pain. However, there can be serious risks and side effects. Common types of Opioids prescribed include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. All of these substances can be highly addictive. Even if a patient did not intend on misusing the pills, over time it can lead to addiction issues. When it comes to a drug overdose death, Opioids were involved in 70% of the deaths in 2018. That is an abnormally large number. There is clearly an Opioid crisis in the United States.

When it comes to the Opioid crisis there are three waves of overdose deaths that have occurred in the United States. Between 1999 and 2018 about 450,000 people have died from an overdose that involved an Opioid. This includes prescription and illicit Opioids. The first wave of overdose deaths began in the 1990s. During this period death involving prescription, Opioids increased up to 1999 and continued. The second wave of Opioid overdoses came in 2010. There was a rapid increase in overdose deaths involving heroin. Lastly, the third wave came in 2013 with a significant increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic Opioids. This involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl. This can also be found in combination with other drugs such as heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine. 

This is a crisis that the United States has been working to address for some time. In Georgia alone there is an Opioid crisis that needs to be looked at. Treatment centers and other resources need to be put into place to address this issue. In 2018 alone Georgia medical providers wrote out around 63 Opioid prescriptions for every 100 patients they saw. This is the lowest rate of prescriptions written in Georgia since 2006.


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The CDC and the Drug Crisis

In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is committed to fighting the opioid overdose epidemic. The CDC is a national public health institute. The CDC is doing what it can to fight against the opioid epidemic. As an organization, they are dedicated to helping states and communities across the U.S. to identify outbreaks, collect data, respond to overdoses, and provide care. Through the Overdose Data to Action, the CDC provides funds to health departments in forty-seven states for prevention and surveillance efforts against Opioid abuse. The efforts of the CDC involve better tracking of drug overdoses as well as polysubstance-involved deaths. It also involves action taken to care for people with Opioid use disorder and those that are at risk for opioid overdose. 

One of the other issues with Opioids is that they can be legally prescribed to patients. The CDC is working on improving prescription drug monitoring programs. The main focus of the CDC includes a few different things. Among them are monitoring trends, building capacity, supporting providers, and increasing public awareness. Overall the aim of the CDC is to help the drug crisis improve across the United States by providing resources that benefit communities. It is important that there are proper resources and education when it comes to the drug crisis.


The Statistics of Overdose Deaths

When it comes to the Opioid epidemic there are many things to be aware of. One may wonder how this whole thing started. How did things get this bad from a prescription pill? Originally, in the 1990s opioid was said to not be addictive. Therefore, medical providers prescribed high doses of these pills. Over time it became clear that opioids were more addictive than originally thought and highly addictive at that. Around 21% to 29% of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them over time. Even if one is not intending to misuse opioids it can be hard to not become addicted after taking them for a while. Of these individuals, between 8% to 12% of them develop an opioid use disorder. Of the people who misuse opioids, 4% to 6% end up addicted to heroin. An astounding 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. Prescription opioid misuse costs the United States around 78.6 billion dollars a year. This includes healthcare costs, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

This is an issue that affects the economy, families, law enforcement, and communities. If these issues aren’t addressed nothing will change. The opioid crisis will continue to get worse and worse. The best thing communities can do is have the right resources available. Once they are aware of what is needed in their area it is best to confront the issue head-on. Many people suffer from opioid addiction in silence. They need to know there are treatment and support available for them in their area. 

The Opioid Crisis in Georgia

The Opioid Crisis in the United States continues to be an issue. Here in Georgia, there are also issues around Opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is a common prescription drug addiction issue. From 2016 to 2017 in Georgia, there was an increase in drug overdose deaths. The increase was by 10.5%. In 2018 there was an age-adjusted death rate of 13.2% and a total of 1,404 deathsIn Georgia over 60% of drug overdose deaths involved Opioids. That’s more than half of the drug overdoses for that year. There were 866 deaths reported involving Opioids. However, in 2018 there was a decline in prescription opioid-involved deaths in Georgia. That is a positive thing after so many years of struggle with opioid deaths in Georgia.

In 2018 Georgia medical providers wrote out around 63 prescriptions for opioids for every 100 patients they saw. This is the lowest rate in the state of Georgia since 2006. It shows that things are improving and federal help makes a difference. However, deaths involving heroin did continue to rise in 2018. Due to an increase in overdose deaths, the Georgia Department of Public Health decided to act. They set up drug surveillance in order to monitor the overdose issue in Georgia. The drug surveillance unit provides data to the public in order to help end the opioid crisis in Georgia. With more data on what is going on, there are more ways to prevent it from getting worse.

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Opioid Recovery

When it comes to getting the help you or a loved one needs, it is important to seek out treatment. Opioids are extremely addictive. This one substance can ruin a person’s entire life. Their whole life can become a downward spiral. Many people lose jobs, family, money, and relationships over opioid addiction. If you or someone you love needs help, the time is now. Do not wait. The sooner treatment is sought out the better. There are treatment centers that specialize in opioid addiction. There is also the option of inpatient or outpatient care.

Depending on how severe the opioid addiction is, addicts may choose to stay at the treatment center. However, if they feel better remaining at home during treatment that is always an option. Those in recovery can also choose to get treatment for longer or shorter periods of time. If the addiction is strong it is important that those addicted seek out longer treatment. That way the recovery has a lasting impact on them. There is no point in individuals going back and forth, in and out of treatment. Recovery has a positive influence on that individual and their community. When a community recovers from a drug issue everyone thrives.