It is a harsh reality that our country is being plagued by opiate addiction and abuse. Opiates are in every city and town across the country. No town is safe from these drugs which many think are harmless. The fact that they are prescribed by doctors, and easily obtainable gives users the false sense that these pills are harmless. Unfortunately that is furthest from the truth. What starts off as a "fun time" or a pill to help relax can quickly turn into a full blown addiction.
I have personally lived through a crisis of my own abusing opiates. They put me in situations that I never dreamed of being in and changed who I was as a person. Millions of people around the world are living with this problem and keeping it a secret from their friends and loved ones. Many addicts live in denial about how bad their addiction has become and believe they can stop at any moment. Unfortunately addiction is extremely powerful, and once tolerance builds, it's extremely hard to quit.
The CDC (Centers of Disease Control) has released new statistics based on the abuse of prescription opiates at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit that was held April 22-24th, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. “This is an issue that doesn’t know urban boundaries or rural boundaries. It’s a nationwide issue,” said Regina Labelle, chief of staff of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
According to the CDC, 125,000 Americans have died from opiate painkiller overdoses in the last 10 years. In a big jump, the United States had about three deaths related to drug overdoses per 100,000 people in 1980. That number is now over 400% greater with nearly 13 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, and it threatens to continue growing according to officials.
For every opiate related overdose death in the United States, there are 26 emergency room visits, 115 people who abuse opiates and are dependent on them, and 733 non-medical users of opiate painkillers.
For every opiate overdose, 15 people abuse treatment center admissions which are very hard to get into in the first place. They are there by force (court ordered), or because their family admitted them. The problem with getting clean is that an addict must be ready to do so on their own. Many people in the United States would love to get professional help but are unable to find a bed or a treatment facility that takes their insurance. The amount of people abusing the system are also hurting those that really desire the help to quit. I feel this is a major problem. If there are addicts that truly want help and are looking for a place to receive help it's important that they receive the treatment immediately before their addiction gets worse.
The CDC statistics are always an eye opener when they are released. I'm not surprised by the numbers because the abuse is growing at a rapid rate. New laws, stricter restrictions on prescribing, and drug monitoring systems are becoming the norm. Only time will tell if the changes that are being made will help reduce the abuse rates and hopefully save lives.