For a while, it seemed that opioid-related overdoses and fatalities were starting to level out, even reducing slightly in some regions. However, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study has shown the opioid epidemic is actually still getting worse overall. Between the third quarter of 2016 and the same period of 2017, the number of opioid overdoses increased roughly 30%. Emergency room visits for overdoses also noticeably increased, up to a total of 91 million in the study’s time period.
The largest percentage increase in opioid overdoses came from the Midwest. The spike there was nearly 70%. In specific, Wisconsin saw a massive jump of about 110%, which contributed significantly to the Midwest’s overall rise.
Overdose increases in the other regions, according to CDC data:
- West: 40.3%
- Northeast: 21.3%
- Southwest: 20.2%
- Southeast: 14.0%
The rise in overdoses and overdose deaths did not discriminate against any specific group of peoples. Men and women from all age groups saw an increase. This is why the opioid epidemic is so devastating: it is everywhere and affects everyone.
New Drugs Increase the Dangers of Opioid Use
CDC Director Anne Schuchat speculates that the number of people using opioids did not increase sharply, whether they had legitimate opioid prescriptions or obtained the drugs illegally. She believes the overdose rise is mostly to blame on drugs being distributed to new neighborhoods or new drugs being manufactured. In particular, fentanyl use is rising dramatically across the country. Many people never even know they are using fentanyl, as it is being secretly laced into heroin due to its potency. Just a couple milligrams of the substance is enough to cause an average adult male to suffer a fatal overdose.
How to Counteract the Opioid Epidemic
Congress has begun throwing around ideas of how to stop the opioid epidemic and the Trump Administration even called it a national emergency. Yet talking and declarations do not do much at all if there is no action to back them up. Since legislation can get caught up in red tape, it could be a while before actually seeing changes brought forth from Congress.
In the meantime, doctors are advising that drug rehabilitation centers offer the best bet for someone to kick their opioid habits once and for all. Innovative and personalized treatments allow people to get exactly the care and attention they need to overcome their addiction.
If you live in Arizona and need to regain your life after losing yourself to opioid addiction, you can come to Acceptance Recovery Center for compassionate, effective treatments and therapy sessions. We specialize in creating customized residential treatment programs based on your individual needs and the tried-and-true 12-step philosophy to addiction recovery. Our goal is getting you back on your feet, in control of your behaviors, and feeling confident in yourself again.
Learn more about our Scottsdale drug rehab center by emailing us or calling for a free assessment.
Dr. Greg Gale has been practicing and providing leadership in the field of psychiatry, substance use, and integrated care in the Phoenix metropolitan area for over 11 years. He joins us from his role as a national medical director overseeing behavioral health, substance use, and integrated care services for Humana Behavioral Health. Previously, he was CMO and VP of Clinical Services at Partners in Recovery, a not-for-profit behavioral health and substance use service organization, which operates five clinics throughout Maricopa County.