According to the latest opiate abuse statistics, nearly 130 people die in the U.S. from an opiate overdose. This includes both prescription drugs and illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. The opiate epidemic has reached unparalleled heights to the point where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has labeled both health and economic burdens.
Regardless of the opiate abuse statistics, however, treatment professionals continue to prescribe medications for an array of physical and psychological conditions. In addition, users frequently abuse opiates to the point of seeking drugs from illegal sources. Currently, the U.S. spends over $78 billion annually in healthcare costs, addiction treatment, lost productivity, and law enforcement, as a result of opiate use.
The Rise of the Opiate Epidemic
Nearly 30 years ago, reports started to circulate of the threat of the opiate epidemic worldwide. However, these early reports did not create a sense of urgency within the medical community to address the potential problem. Conversely, doctors continued to prescribe medication at greater rates knowing the nation’s desperate need for opiate detox centers.
As a result, both normal usage and overdose rates skyrocketed from the early 1990s until today. Currently, doctors write over 50 million opiate-related prescriptions annually. The surge in prescriptions has led to a staggering 47,000 deaths from overdose in 2017, with an estimated 1.7 Americans in treatment centers with opiate disorders.
Opiate Abuse Statistics: Crunching the Numbers
Just how bad is the opiate epidemic in America? Consider these statistics from a number of government and independent agencies:
- Nearly 30 percent of patients abuse opiates prescribed for pain
- 12 percent of opiate users develop an addiction or dependency
- Nearly six percent of opiate users try heroin for the first time
- 80 percent of heroin users started by using opiates
- Opiate overdoses increased 30 percent from 2016 to 2017
The epidemic has become such a crisis that nearly every health agency in the U.S. has designated it as a top priority that must be addressed.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institute of Health have currently launched initiatives that include granting greater access to drug and alcohol detox and rehab centers, greater distribution of overdose-reversing drugs, more education, and awareness, and finding a healthier alternative for pain management.
Why Do People Become Addicted to Opiates?
There are several reasons why users become addicted to opiates. The primary reason is the euphoric effects that the drugs create in the brain. They simply make people feel better. Whether it’s pain management or treatment for a mental condition, opiates can cause a person to relax, help them sleep, and relieve their pain.
Another reason why a person may become addicted is due to the length of use and an increase in dosage. The effects of opiates wear off over time. This means that a person needs to take more to continue feeling the effects. As a result, a dependency develops after several weeks or months of use.
Learn More About Opiates at Summit Detox
Find out more about opiate abuse statistics by contacting Summit Detox. We offer treatment for all types of opiate addictions. So call us today at 866.341.0638 to learn more about your treatment options.