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Opioid Overdose: Leading Cause Of Accidental Death | U.S.

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opioid-overdose-the-watershedFor a long time people were able to brush off addicts and their addiction as a moral failing, but now that opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., it’s kind of hard to ignore. We are facing a national crisis and now is the time to fully accept that addiction is a disease and treat it like the health problem it is.

Opioid Overdose: A Nation In Crisis

More people have died in the past two years from opioid addiction than in the Vietnam War, according to the Huffington Post.

Here are the facts reported by the New York Times:

  • An estimated 59,000 -65,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2016.
  • This is a 19% rise from 2015, where 52,404 were overdose deaths were reported.
  • Drug overdose death is now the leading cause of accidental death in Americans under 50.

What Can Be Done?

Officials suggest utilizing the same plan of action that was used when the AIDS crisis hit the country hard in the 80’s and 90’s. Once the health crisis was under control and people were being treated, then the maintenance and recovery phase was able to take place. More education, training, and support for treatment and prevention efforts helped our nation come out of this catastrophic event.

How Did They Do It?

Funding was put into creating treatment and treatment guidelines through AIDS Education and Training Centers, which were specifically formed to combat the epidemic. There was also support and funding to help work with patients to ensure they were treated and educated to help prevent further spread.

If we tackled the opioid epidemic with the same power and determination we had when we went after the AIDS crisis, we could recover from this devastating disease, too. I think we are also seeing a connection here between AIDS patients and addicts because they share a similar trait; they both suffer from a disease that people judge and shame you for having.

The answer is very clear in our opinion and here is what we think should be done:

  • Education, training, and resources on and for the disease of addiction in schools, hospitals, community centers, and any organizations that work directly with the public.
  • Regulations for treatment centers, as well as sober homes, so that they are held up to the same standards as any hospital would be.
  • Resources for addicts and alcoholics to obtain to get help and support, and the ability to obtain mental and physical treatment for their addiction.
  • More funding for treatment and treatment centers.

Opioid Overdose Recovery

We receive calls from all over the country from people asking for help for their addiction, and what we found was that there was a desperate need for assistance for those who were unable to attend our program. As a result, we created a resource center to help those suffering find a treatment program that could treat them. What we know is this: over the last several years it has become increasingly more difficult for us to find them a center that will take them. The centers are either too full or don’t exist where the person lives. These sick and suffering addicts are being told to wait until a bed is available. Some are even told to hang outside the facility so they don’t miss an open bed. Could you imagine sleeping outside a hospital, waiting for a bed while you were dying from a disease? And yes, withdrawals do have the power to kill you.

The other sad truth is that many insurance companies will not approve someone attending treatment if they are not “bad enough.”  This means if the insurance company believes that they are not suffering from a drug that could kill them during withdrawal, then they do not need treatment and should just stop on their own. Even if they can’t die from withdrawal, they can still die from overdose, so this requirement seems just downright silly. In addition, the belief that an addict can just stop on their own is dangerous, because addiction is not something that can be controlled and it will not go away without proper treatment. The fact is this – even though addiction can’t be cured, it can be put into life-long remission, and with the proper funding for additional treatment facilities, we can better accomplish this.

If you are sick and tired of suffering from addiction, being judged and shammed for your disease, and want help, love, and support, then call The Watershed today. We understand what you are going through and we are here for you. Contact us now at 1-800-861-1768. You deserve recovery and we can help you achieve it.

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