According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 200 people died from drug overdoses each day in 2017, A 68% increase from 2016. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Roughly $26 billion is spent annually on treatment services, lost productivity, and criminal justice involvement. The dramatic escalation of illicit drug overdoses has been linked to synthetic narcotics such as fentanyl; the issue of drug misuse is a problem for everyone.
While substance abuse does not discriminate, certain factors may make an individual more susceptible. Genetics, psychological makeup, and environment can all play a role. Experts say the United States is in the throes of an Opioid epidemic as more than two million Americans have become either dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs such as Heroin. People who become dependent on prescription painkillers, but cannot obtain them legally, often switch to heroin. They are seeking both the euphoric high associated with Opiates and pain relief.
Where do we go from here? Education on the dangers of these powerful painkillers and careful monitoring by prescribing physicians is vital. Employers and families must recognize this is a real problem that cannot be ignored.
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