2016: The First Year That Opioid Overdose Results in More Death Than Gun Violence in the United States of America

It has been reported by the CDC that there are 90 people every day that die from gun violence in America. Unfortunately the year of 2016 marks the first year in history that death related to opioid overdose has grown larger than that of gun violence. The implication from the CDC being that there are over 300 more individuals dying from opioid overdose than that of gun violence.

What Are Opioids

Opioids are a type of drug used to alleviate pain and prescription opioids can be used legally. When used legally they must be prescribed by a medical professional, ingested the way in which was recommended by said professional and taken as recommended. Although a medical professional can prescribe opioids to an individual, it is imperative for that individual to use them with caution and only as intended, as they can become highly addictive.

It is not uncommon for individuals to consider prescribed opioids to be “safe.” It is true that they are regulated by the FDA and if obtained from a pharmacy are not “laced” with any other drugs. Abuse of these prescribed medications, however, is no less dangerous than that obtained on the street.

Some of the prescribed opioids include the following:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine

In addition to heroin and opium, prescribed opioids can be resold on the street, deeming them illegal. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for medications to be mixed, and/or diluted with other ingredients. This would make the true contents of the drug unknown to the user.

Neither heroin nor opium are regulated by the FDA, which keeps the potency and purity of each respective batch a mystery to the user. This can prove to be extremely dangerous, for obvious reasons. It has become evident that in 2016, research indicates that the death rate from opioid overdose has surpassed that of gun violence in America.

Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

Opioid drugs affect many different areas in one’s nervous system and brain. Opioids have the propensity to influence one’s limbic system, brainstem, and spinal cord. Though all drugs affect each individual uniquely, there are several widespread symptoms that can be seen in individuals who abuse opioids.

Some of the symptoms of opioid abuse can include any combination of the following:

  • Depression
  • Social Isolation
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Agitation
  • Financial difficulties
  • Lying

Not every individual will exhibit all of the above symptoms. These are simply examples of reported symptoms that have been previously displayed by opioid abusers.

2016 Overdose at and All Time High

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue.” In 2014, the DEA, as a means to curtail the rising prescription drug abuse in America, has reclassified some opioids as a more restrictive drug schedule. A direct result of this is more stringent rules and regulations surrounding opioid prescriptions, and requiring a written prescription from a medical professional for every refill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999 and so have sales of these prescription drugs.” Moreover, the CDC states that there have been more than 183,000 deaths in direct relation to opioid overdose between the years of 1999 to 2015. There was a spike in opioid overdose with an increase of 258% that occurred between the years 2010 to 2014, according to the DEA.

America has officially reached an all-time high, in 2016, in regards to opioid overdose. The current statistics reported from the CDC have revealed that 91 Americans die daily from opioid overdose. The artist formerly known as Prince, was one of those 91 individuals who died from an opioid overdose, on April 21, 2016.

Seeking Out Help For Addiction

If an individual is even suspected of abusing opioids, it is imperative to seek out proper help. As indicated above, opioid overdose is unfortunately becoming increasingly prevalent in our society, and the only way to stop it is to get help before it is too late.  There are a plethora of options for an individual in need of help and/or guidance with opioid abuse. Contacting a drug rehabilitation center is often the best option as they will be able to provide much needed help for recovery.

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