Blog CDC Report Spotlights America’s Opioid Problem

CDC Report Spotlights America’s Opioid Problem

Woman crying over a casket
Opioid overdoses are killing tens of thousands of people all across the country, and the epidemic does not seem to be slowing down. A recent report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals just how many people have succumbed to opioid misuse or addiction, and the numbers are staggering. According to the report, over 63,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016, with about two-thirds of these deaths a result of opioid use. That’s an increase of 21 percent in overdose deaths from the year before. More specifically, the spike in overdose deaths related to opioid use is attributed to synthetic opioids. Fentanyl, in particular, was the synthetic opioid most involved in overdose deaths, which is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine. Despite there being a continued shortage of legal fentanyl, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), illicit synthetic fentanyl is still readily accessible from illegal sources. The CDC’s report also revealed that overdoses attributed to prescription opioids jumped by more than 10 percent. Certain states in the US, in particular, are seeing much more dangerous stats, with overdose deaths doubling over the same time frame, including Ohio, West Virginia, and Washington DC.
Graph of opiod deaths

The number of deaths from opioid overdoses continues to rise across the country. (Source: Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes, CDC.)

What Are the Implications of the Recent CDC Report?

Every day, over 115 Americans die of an opioid overdose. Opioid addiction has become a dangerous epidemic and crisis that impacts not only those suffering from substance use disorder but others around them as well. Opioids are highly addictive substances, and while they are prescribed by physicians in an effort to alleviate severe pain in patients, many people develop an addiction to these substances. Not only are people getting hooked on opioids that are attributed to prescriptions, but many are also developing an addiction to opioids obtained from illicit sources. The danger associated with illegal synthetic opioids is that they are often laced with other substances of which users may not be aware. Many are also becoming addicted to illegally manufactured fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that can cause overdose in small doses. Today, the misuse of these medications and illicit drugs has led to a detrimental addiction epidemic, with opioid overdose rates increasing at exponential rates. By 2015, approximately 2 million Americans suffered from substance use disorders as a result of opioids prescribed by their physicians, and the numbers continue to increase.

Where Can People With an Opioid Addiction Go For Help?

As dire as the situation may seem with opioid addiction and overdose deaths, there is hope. There are several Washington State addiction treatment resources that can guide people to programs designed specifically to help those battling an addiction to opioids. These programs can help those with a substance use disorder safely detox in a medically supervised facility using appropriate medication therapy to minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce the chances of recurrence of use. From there, patients can enter a reputable drug rehab facility where they can participate in group therapy sessions, one-on-one counseling sessions, and other programs in which they can learn to live life without the need to reach for their drug of choice. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can reach that light by taking the first step toward recovery. Contact us at The Recovery Village today to find out more about how we can help.  

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.