In March 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a data brief that outlined key findings about drug poisoning deaths related to heroin.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The same sad stories
For the last several years, stories across the country have echoed the same plot: Since the early 2000s, analgesic painkillers have been under-regulated and over-prescribed, and in turn have contributed to an opioid addiction crisis that is enveloping our nation. The highly addictive painkillers are not only difficult to obtain once prescriptions run out, but they are also exorbitantly expensive. Faced with fulfilling an unceasing physical demand to ingest more opioids, those afflicted with addiction turn to cheap, accessible heroin.
Sometimes the drug story takes an unexpected spotlight, like when the death of a celebrity (see: Philip Seymour Hoffman) makes headlines. Other times, the news is focused on states’ administrative plans to handle addiction in their regions.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention key findings from 2013
But the trend isn’t just newsworthy these days; it’s deadly. The CDC’s latest report brings the heroin addiction crisis into sharp focus.
From 2000 to 2013, heroin-related deaths nearly quadrupled, going from 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in the year 2000 to 2.7 per 100,000 in 2013. But unfortunately, that’s not the worst of the news. While there have been increases each year since 2000, the most significant jump happened from 2010 to 2013, a period during which heroin-related deaths jumped 37% (compared to just 6% per year from 2000 to 2010). Despite all the coverage that heroin addiction has seen in recent years, statistics indicate that the problem seems to be getting worse.
It’s not all bad news
While the death rates are alarming, there is still hope that the nation can recover. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that the Northeast is among the hardest hit by the opiate and heroin epidemic; deaths here increased four-fold since 2010.
Over the past year, various steps have been taken to address the issue. In New Jersey, for example, legislation was proposed last fall that would adjust the state’s approach to drug addiction and abuse. The 21-bill package suggested a shift toward prevention and treatment for drug offenses as opposed to incarceration. The package also included health insurance provisions that would encourage insurance providers to offer coverage for treatment and behavioral healthcare.
Last November in Delaware, lawmakers requested some $4.5 million to expand bed space for treatment facilities throughout the state and bolster programs aimed at teen recovery and addiction prevention.
In Massachusetts, several communities armed their first responders with Naloxone (also known as Narcan), an antidote of sorts that reverses the effects of heroin and other opiates in the wake of an overdose.
Time will tell how much progress the states are able to make with their new programs, but it’s certain that the problem is not going away on its own.
The truth is addiction will never go away on its own. It’s a disease that requires treatment, and most of the time, professional help. If you are struggling with your own addiction battle, or looking for ways to help a loved one who is, The Watershed can help. Call our hotline any time to learn how we can help you: 1-800-861-1768. Don’t become part of the statistics. Call us today.Tags: CDC, faces of heroin, heroin addiction, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention