In 2015, opioid overdoses resulted in over 33,000 deaths in the United States. However, it is actually inaccurate to dub this modern day crisis an “opioid epidemic.” An interactive map that uses recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics reveals that there are actually more than one opioid epidemics that have been plaguing the United States, each of which have been affecting different regions of the country.
The prevalence of illegal drugs and prescription opioids has increased tremendously throughout the United States, and the situation is only worsening. Compared to 2000, there has been 137% increase in overdose-related deaths since then. In fact, the recent CDC statistics revealed the highest drug overdose-related mortality figure yet, i.e. drug overdoses resulted in over 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2015.
Every day in the United States, an average of 44 people die from overdosing on fentanyl, an opioid painkiller, which makes it the country’s most threatening drug. Based on data from the past 15 years, overdose-related deaths among people between the ages of 65 and 74 have risen steeply. Back in 1999, 16 people had died and in 2014, there was a 4,150% rise, i.e. 680 people had died.
The rates of lethal overdoses by substance and state over the period of the past 15 years was recently mapped out by DrugAbuse.com. Based on the demographics, it seems that each substance has the highest mortality rates centralized in particular regions or states. Male mortality rates were not only high but were spread across a wider range of ages, while it was the opposite for women.
The most lethal alcohol overdoses were in Alaska, with an average of almost 26 people dying per 100,000 residents. It was discovered by a research study that 20% of adults and 12.5% of high school students in Alaska indulge in dangerous binge drinking behaviors. In Alaska, most of the people who have died from alcohol overdoses have been between the ages of 45 and 54, both male and female.
Throughout the United States, substance abuse has killed more men than women, based on statistics of alcohol-, benzodiazepine-, cocaine-, heroin-, prescription opioid- and stimulant-related deaths. Over the period of the past 15 years, more than 96,000 men and more than 52,000 women have died from fatally overdosing on one or more of the mentioned substances. The statistics of the past 15 years also reveal that drug overdose-related deaths have also risen for all age groups.
There are many factors that may lead a person to misusing and abusing drugs. These include being influenced by their social environment, having taken prescription drugs to treat injuries, and mental illnesses. Addiction continues to be regarded as something disgraceful and humiliating, which is the reason that many people addicted to drugs do not seek the help they direly require.
When it comes to addiction and overdoses, the statistics of the past 15 years have shown that there has been no discrimination in terms of age, gender and geography. No doubt, certain demographics have had higher rates, but it is still not too late to provide care to these people by taking advantage of the available resources.