Analyzing the statistics regarding overdose deaths in the United States, provided by the Center for Disease Control, provokes a deep sense of fear. The United States is witnessing the worst outbreak of overdose deaths in its history. Drug abuse and addiction are causing this rise in overdose deaths. The main culprit for this rise is the historic climb in popularity of prescription drugs. Everything about these drugs are dangerous. Users seem to believe the drugs are completely safe because they are legal. They believe the drugs are safer to abuse than illegal drugs because the government endorses them. They also delude themselves into believing that these drugs are safe to take over the long term as if they were vitamins. The truth is that none of these ‘beliefs’ are true. Prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, should not be used over a long period of time, are habit forming, create dependency and they can often lead of overdose and death. In order to combat the growing death rates from overdoses the government at local, state and federal levels must work together to make available help for those who need it, create tighter regulations of drug sales/prescriptions, hold irresponsible doctors/physicians accountable and educational programs to teach citizens of all ages about the dangers of these drugs.
Rising Overdose Death Rates
In particular are the maps of the United States showing the number of overdose deaths per 100,000 in colors ranging from blue to red; blue being four or less and red representing 20 or more overdose deaths. From the year of 2003 to 2014 the growing concentration of red nearly engulfs the entire map. The areas most affected by the growing overdose rates are the southwest and area just west of the Appalachian Mountains. The growing overdose deaths rates have reached a new high in the United States at 47,055 people or roughly 125 Americans every day. The climb in death rates from overdose is much higher than other causes of death; the average jumped from nine per 100,000 to 15 per 100,000 in 2014. Authorities at the Center for Disease control have compared the rise in death rates from overdose to that of the human immunodeficiency virus, or H.I.V. epidemic. The HIV death rate problem rose over a shorter period of time and peaked in 1995 at the same high point of overdose deaths today. The difference between the two is that HIV was mainly an urban problem, while overdose death rates are prevalent everywhere. As a matter of fact, death rates in urban areas have been eclipsed by those in rural areas.
Overdose Death Rates and Opiates
Across the nation individuals are dying because of the prescription medications they are taking. Opioids were involved in more than 61% of the overdose deaths nationally. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin and fentanyl, which is a prescription painkiller
that is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Deaths caused by heroin have tripled in the last six years. States such as New Hampshire, which is been hit as hard as any state by overdose deaths, see overdose death rates as part of a platform for visiting government candidates. Part of New Hampshire’s problem, like many other states similar, is that it has a surprisingly low availability of treatment for drug abuse and addiction. The area of Appalachia is filled with blue collar workers who experience injuries that turn into addictions when prescribed painkillers. The southwest of the United States continues to pass down their heroin addiction from generation to generation. Heroin is the cause of their high overdose death rates.
With the help of local, state and federal governments the country can work together to reduce overdose death and provide a safe atmosphere for the next generations.