In a recent article on medscape.com, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said, "Nearly every aspect of the opioid overdose death epidemic worsened in 2014." In fact, there were more deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014 than any previous year on record, the story says. Leading that statistic is the number of opioid overdose deaths. As the story explains, "In 2014, opioid overdose deaths, including deaths from the use of opioid painkillers and heroin, hit record levels, with an 'alarming' 14 percent increase, the CDC said."
Deaths from opioids rose 9 percent in 2014, while deaths from heroin increased 26 percent, synthetic opioid deaths spiked to 80 percent during the course of the year.
It all of this seems overwhelming, it's because it is. We have become a nation addicted to opioids. And the numbers are there to back up that statement.
The problem is affecting every race, creed and color of Americans. Both men and women, non-Hispanic whites and blacks have all seen an increase in drug overdose deaths. The highest hit areas are West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.
With reports like these showing the hard fact that America is dealing with an epidemic, one question remains: What can be done?
CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a statement reported in the story, "The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids."
Indeed, treatment, support and law enforcement are all a part of quest for a solution.
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