Opiate addiction today is quite different than it was just a few decades earlier. The grip that opiates have on users is far greater than in the past. Americans have access to several different types of opiates.
Heroin is the most frequently abused illicit opiate while prescription painkillers are the most widely abused legal opiates. Addiction to opiates is a global problem, and it affects the economic, health and social welfare of every society on the planet.
According to statistics, worldwide, roughly 32 million individuals abuse opiates. In the United States, over 2 million individuals need help beating an opiate addiction, with the majority of these individuals having an addiction to prescription painkillers.
During 2012, an estimated 467,000 Americans were addicted to heroin. Despite individuals seeking treatment, this number continues to grow significantly.
The negative ripple effects caused by opiate addiction are widespread and very destructive. In the United States, the number of annual overdose deaths caused by opiates has skyrocketed.
Since 1999, the annual number of opiate overdose deaths has quadrupled. A link has been made between increased non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and heroin use.
The True Scope and Impact of Opiate Addiction
One of the major contributing factors to this issue is the dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions being written by doctors for prescription opioids. Another issue is the increased social acceptability of these medications.
The last major contributor to the huge problem of opiate addiction is the intense marketing by pharmaceutical companies. The combination of all of these different factors has led to a much larger supply of these drugs in circulation.
To help make this clear, it’s important to look at the statistics. In 1991, major retail pharmacies in the United States issued roughly 76 million prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone, which are the two most prescribed prescription painkillers in the country.
By 2013, this number has increased to over 207 million prescriptions. As one would imagine, the massive increase in the number of prescriptions issued for these medications has also led to a rapid increase in the negative consequences.
The Dark Side of Today’s Opiate Addiction
The number of people who die every year from opiate overdoses has also increased dramatically. This is the shocking reality of opiate addiction today.
The silver lining is that each individual can start changing these statistics. Anyone who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol should inpatient addiction treatment.
While in inpatient care, individuals will have a chance to focus on their recovery. Some benefits of inpatient drug treatment are access to vital tools for recovery, balanced nutrition, constant support and unbeatable program structure.