Tennessee is one of the states hit hardest by the nation’s opioid epidemic which began about 20 years ago and had a stark increase since 2009, now reaching unprecedented levels across the county with a 200% increase in the rate of deaths involving opioids (Rudd, Aleshire, Zibbell, & Gladden, 2016; Fletcher, 2016). In Tennessee specifically, it is estimated that about 1 in 6 abuse opioids; the CDC estimates that for every one person who dies from an opioid overdose in Tennessee there are 851 others in the state who are in various stages of their abuse, misuse, and treatment; and the most recent statistics show that opioid overdoses alone make up about 7.7% of deaths in Tennessee, making them responsible for more deaths than car accidents in the state (Botticelli, 2016; Rudd, Aleshire, Zibbell, & Gladden, 2016; Fletcher, 2016; ONDCP, 2016; Thompson, 2016).
Opioid use in the US has increased over the years, and this has led to an increase in substance abuse. Substance abuse is not only associated with use of illicit drugs but also prescription drugs. In 2015, of the 20.5 million reported cases of substance abuse, 2 million had an abuse disorder related to prescription pain relievers and 591,000 associated with heroin.1 The increase in substance abuse disorder has led to an increase in opioid related death. In 2015 drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental death in the US with 52, 404 lethal drug overdoses.2
Heroin and opioids have grown in appearance in communities. Since, 2008 in Allegheny County alone there was more than two thousand overdose deaths, with one hundred-seventy-seven deaths in this year alone (Pennsylvania). Furthermore, in 2015 there was only one -hundred-twenty-six;
Last year there were over 64,000 reported opioid-related deaths in the United States – making it the leading cause of accidental death in people under the age of 50 in this country (Katz). Opioids, also referred to as painkillers, have become a growing problem over the past two decades particularly in rural communities all across the country where the death rates are higher per capita compared to the death rate in cities (“America’s Opioid Epidemic is Worsening”). These narcotics, such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone are extremely addictive and, as a result, this silent killer has quadrupled the overdose death toll since 1999
Opioid drugs are some of the most widespread pain medications that we have in this country; indeed, the fact is that opioid analgesic prescriptions have increased by over 300% from 1999 to 2010 (Mitch 989). Consequently, the number of deaths from overdose increased from 4000 to 16,600 a year in the same time frame (Mitch 989). This fact becomes even more frightening when you think about today; the annual number of fatal drug overdoses in the Unites States now surpasses that of motor vehicle deaths (Alexander 1865). Even worse, overdose deaths caused by opioids specifically exceed those attributed to both cocaine and heroin combined (Alexander 1865).
In Nolan and Amico’s article, “How Bad is the Opioid Epidemic?” they argue the opioid epidemic has become the worst drug crisis in American history. Heroin and other opioids overdose kill more than 47,055 people a year. Deaths caused from drug overdose has outnumber as much as 40 percent compared to the death caused from car crashes in 2014 (Nolan and Amico 3). Furthermore, in 1999 there were only 15000 people died from drug overdose. This number has tripled in 15 years. Also, in his article, “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse” Volkow also presents the fact that “with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. The consequences of this abuse have been devastating and are on the rise. For example, the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has
Various levels of governments in different communities across North America have initiated programs to deal with the opioid epidemic and its effect. Some of these initiatives will be examined in more details below.
Many people may not realize this but multiple states, including Michigan, are facing an epidemic. It is not a disease, however, it is a heroin epidemic. In a country where addictive opioid pain-killer prescriptions are handed out like candy, it not surprising heroin, also known as smack or thunder, has become a serious problem. The current heroin epidemic Michigan is facing, as are dozens of other states, has spiraled out of control in recent years. In Michigan, some of the areas hit hardest by this drug are in the southern portion of the state, like Wayne, Oakland, and Monroe Counties. The connection between painkillers and heroin may not be clear, but this is because both are classified as opioid drugs, and therefore cause many of the same positive and negative side effects. As a country, we are currently the largest consumer of opioids in the world; almost the entire world supply of hydrocodone (the opioid in Vicodin) and 81% of the world’s oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin) is used by the United States (Volkow). Along with consuming most of the world’s most common opioids, we have gone from 76 million of these prescriptions in 1991 to 207 million in 2013 – constantly increasing except for a small decrease starting in 2012 (Volkow). This widespread use has caused numerous consequences from increasing emergency room visits – for both painkillers and heroin – to sky-rocking overdose cases all over the country (Volkow). Michigan, unfortunately, currently has one of the
The United States currently faces an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction. This includes painkillers, heroin, and other drugs made from the same base chemical. In the couple of years, approximately one out of twenty Americans reported misuse or abuse of prescriptions painkillers. Heroin abuse and overdoses are on the rise and are the leading cause of injury deaths, surpassing car accidents and gun shots. The current problem differs from the opioid addiction outbreaks of the past in that it is also predominant in the middle and affluent classes. Ultimately, anyone can be fighting a battle with addiction and it is important for family members and loved ones to know the signs. The cause for this epidemic is that the current spike of opioid abuse can be traced to two decades of increased prescription rates for painkillers by well-meaning physicians.
In order to better understand addiction as a disease as opposed to a moral dilemma it first must be broken down. First you must look at the way in which the chemicals affect the brain. The first attempt at partaking in any mind altering substance can be looked at as a choice to the individual. However what happens after that first
If you watch the news it should come as no surprise that drug abuse and overdoses have increased dramatically in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as 36 million people abuse opioids throughout the world with 2.1 million in the U.S. who currently suffer from opioid abuse disorders (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014). These astonishing numbers are only marginalized when comparing them to opioid related deaths in the United States. With an increase of 137 percent since 2000, deaths from drug overdoses now occur 1.5 times more often than deaths from motor vehicle accidents (Rudd Aleshire, Zibbell & Gladden, 2016). The opioid epidemic in the
In Florida alone, thousands of Americans die every year due to the struggles of opioid addiction. According to Becker’s Hospital Review 1,399 (Rappleye) Floridians die each year from prescription or heroin overdose. Many families are affected by opioid
Whether the opioids were prescribed to the user or if they were taken recreationally by buying it off the street, opioid addiction and deaths has risen dramatically. In Boston alone from 2012 to 2015 opioid related deaths have more than doubled; slowly climbing from 64 to 136 deaths.1 Fortunately, these numbers have not gone unnoticed. Government grants and agencies as well as local programs have been working hard to reduce this epidemic. Boston is a very big city filled with vast diversity. There are beautiful gardens in the Commons, amazing food in the North end, exciting plays and ballets in the Art district and historical buildings and stories that date back to the beginning of America. Boston is the home of 35 colleges and universities
The drug epidemic in America is a growing problem and continuing to take hundreds of lives everyday, particularly opioids. These highly addictive drugs are taking the world by storm and claiming thousands of life with no remorse. The pharmaceutical industry is making millions off the addiction and pain of the American people causing a widespread of drug overdoses and deaths all across the United States. According to The New York Times, “Public Health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history, killing more than 33,00 people in 2015.” (Scott Morgan) Addiction, money, and the vulnerability all play a part in the opioid widespread epidemic.
In and around most large cities in America, the rising substance abuse epidemic has brought about a renewed interested in determining the root cause of substance abuse, the effects of substance abuse on individuals and societies, and the substance abuse treatment modalities that achieve the best outcomes. In reviewing the current research on substance abuse there seems to be no one clear cause of substance abuse disorders, although there is strong evidence that a number of life circumstances may predispose an individual to a substance abuse disorder, as well as a number of protective factors that may reduce an individual’s risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. One important risk factor that is commonly associated with substance