The Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a very serious issue currently going on in the US, as well as other places in the world. In 2014 alone, drug overdoses was the leading cause of accidental death. That means more people died from drug overdose than they did in car accidents and other causes. Drugs classified under the opioid category include prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and morphine.

A lot of people take them to relieve pain, but a handful of people get too dependent on the drug. For many who get heavily addicted, that becomes all they think about. They neglect family and their routine because of the drugs. Opioids such as oxycodone is so powerful it can knock out the user. There was an incident a couple months back where a child told her bus driver her parents didn’t wake up in the morning. The bus driver called the cops who found out the parents over dosed and died. Many more similar articles are coming out which shows that this is becoming more serious of an issue.

According to 2014 statistics, 23% of people who were prescribed these medications became addicted. In the year of 2014 alone, 47,055 lethal overdoses occurred. Out of that 47, 055, prescription pain reliever deaths resulted in 18, 893. Statistics have yet to be given for 2016, but so far, it is not looking good. To add more mayhem, prescriptions being given have tripled over the past 20 years.

Earlier in the year, the Obama administration was taking measures to try and prevent this issue. Their measures include intensive outpatient programs for treatment, increasing intake of patient numbers for medications used to combat the addiction, and creating programs that give more access to health care treatments and educational opportunities for awareness. Many rehabilitation facilities already exist for people heavily dependent on drugs and alcohol.

I sure hope this situation becomes less frequent and people turn to their loved ones for support rather than pain killers. There are many alternatives to pain killers (such as the ways listed above), as well as other ways to take out frustrations (such as working out, punching bags, etc…). For MHC Healthcare, the behavioral health services provide substance abuse assessment and treatment for those suffering from the addiction.

For more information about MHC Healthcare, follow this link: http://staging8.mhchealthcare.org/

For a more thorough understanding of the epidemic and ways to combat it, follow this link: http://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/

Written by Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer