Drug overdose deaths have become a significant public health burden in the United States in recent years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Moreover, the situation has only worsened with the rate of overdose deaths surging over the years. A compilation of recent data obtained from various health agencies by The New York Times revealed the gravity of the situation.
As per the preliminary data, the number of drug overdose deaths in 2016 soared over 59,000. Drug overdose is a significant cause of death among people under 50 in the U.S. One of the primary reasons for such a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths is the inflow of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other spurious drugs into the country.
The number of deaths in 2016 saw a 19 percent increase over 52,404, recorded in 2015. To make matters worse, experts are of the view that figures would deteriorate in 2017. This means overdose deaths in the nation will continue to rise.
Moreover, it will take some time for the CDC to estimate the exact numbers until December because drug deaths usually take longer to be certified. The data compiled by the NYT in 2016 was the result of an assiduous gleaning of hundreds of state health departments, medical examiners and county coroners.
The report by the NYT found that illicit fentanyl import is a key contributor to this continual rise of drug overdose deaths in the country. The drug is not a new entrant in the market. Fentanyl seizures have significantly gone up in the past three years.
The situation has worsened because people are selling it on the street as heroin. Drug traffickers are using fentanyl to manufacture cheap and counterfeit prescription opioids. Those who buy it as heroin have no clue about its dangerous properties and end up using them in excess, oblivious to the consequences. Fentanyl is also used to spike cocaine. The condition has exacerbated with the arrival of its analog carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer 5,000 times stronger than heroin and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Even a few grains of it can be lethal.
First-time responders too find it difficult to attend to victims of fentanyl or carfentanil. They complain that an overdose of these drugs are so strong that multiple doses of naloxone (anti-overdose medication often sold by the brand name Narcan) are required to assuage the effects.
Early data collected for 2017 shows a rise in overdose deaths and thus, predicts a grimmer picture for the entire year. Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said that it is the only aspect of the American health which is deteriorating by the day. To see an improvement in the public health domain, the country has to get rid of drug overdoses and the opioid epidemic.
America is under the sway of opioids, with over 2 million using them regularly. An additional 95 million people used prescription painkillers in 2016. As a precautionary measure, authorities have now decided to pull the plugs on opioid manufacturing companies for abetting the opioid epidemic.
For millions of people addicted to substances, treatment is the only solution. It is no use bemoaning when it is too late, rather, one should seek treatment in the event of an addiction. Hence, if a loved one is grappling with any addiction, call our 24-hour drug helpline number at 855-441-4405 or chat online for a quick response. Our experts are the best source of information when you are looking for drug rehab help.