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Decline in opioid prescriptions fails to check the rise in opioid overdose deaths, finds study

It all started in the late 1990s when doctors in the United States found it suitable enough to prescribe opioids for pain relief. Little did they know that decades later, the same set of drugs would become such a grave cause of human pain. A recent study conducted by the American Action Forum has revealed that since 2010, though there has been a steady decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions, the number of opioid overdose causalities involving synthetic opioids and heroin has seen a surge.

The amount of opioids prescribed surged at the rate of 14.3 percent annually from 1999 to 2010; however, after that it started to dip by 4.3 percent annually. The result of this improvement reflected in the sliding numbers of overdose deaths related to prescription opioids – from 13.4 percent annually before 2010 to mere 4.8 percent after that.

However, the study found that the situation was not the same when it came to overdose deaths associated with all opioids – annual death rate for all opioids increased from 9.1 percent before 2010 to 12.3 percent after 2010. The researchers also found that the real problem behind this was heroin and synthetic opioids.

Number of fatalities due to heroin overdose has seen a marked increase

The research stated that number of fatalities due to heroin overdose has seen a marked increase even after the government’s clamp down on the unrestrained prescription of potent painkillers. It has catapulted from 4.1 percent before 2010 to a staggering 31.2 percent after the same year.

Even the number of mortalities related to synthetic opioids touched 36.5 percent after 2010 compared to 13.7 percent before 2010. The findings also showed that international cartels fully exploited the situation when prescription were not available – they inundated the market with cheap versions of heroin and synthetic opioids.

The recent study is a reflection of something more endemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 32,445 deaths were reported due to prescription opioid overdose in 2016. If reports are to be believed, more than 100 Americans fall victim to opioids overdose every day. This is not the end of it, as off late, a drastic spike in Hepatitis C infection cases due to opioid and heroin overdose has been reported. The situation is not to be taken lightly, considering the fact that it not only affects families across the nation by putting them in a state of desolation and anguish, but also acts as a major impediment to the growth of the country.

It is now a known fact that the opioid epidemic has engulfed almost every geographical spread of the U.S. Due to the tight leash on prescription opioids by authorities, more and more users are seeking solace in synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil. These opioids are far more potent than morphine or heroin and only a little in excess is an invitation to a sure fatality.

The Donald Trump administration is wary of the repercussions and is determined to tame the demon that is corroding the social fabric of the society in ways more than one. Not long ago, President Trump clarified that his administration would take all possible steps to combat the opioid crisis and thus, declared it as a nationwide public health emergency in October 2017.

However, shifting the onus completely on the government will in no way curb the menace in its entirety. Only an all-out comprehensive road-map aimed at nipping the issue right in the bud would be effective enough to rein in the scourge. Regulating the sale of prescription opioids coupled with cessation of illicit drug trade is the way forward.

Dealing with opioid addiction

The implications of opioid abuse transcend far beyond the user. Not just the person addicted to the opioid, but the entire family is exposed to serious vulnerabilities and perils arising out of such a situation. So if you have a family member or a dear one battling opioid abuse, it is imperative that you seek help without delay via our drug addiction online chat. Our round the clock drug help live chat facility is aimed at allaying your concerns and helping you find the best residential drug rehab for your dear one. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 441-4405 and seek assistance.

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