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“We have roughly two groups of Americans that are getting addicted,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University. “We have an older group that is overdosing on pain medicine, and we have a younger group that is overdosing on black market opioids.”

opioid use disorder

What type of opioid a person uses regularly isn’t that important, what’s crucial is understanding that opiates of any kind are deadly. While the majority of Americans first became addicted to prescription painkillers, the disease progression often results in a switch to cheaper and stronger narcotics acquired on the black market.

Even those with a cursory understanding of the opioid addiction epidemic know the risks associated with this class of drugs. One need only look at their local newspaper to see headlines about the crisis unfolding in the U.S. The death rate has continued to rise with some years showing exponential increases for over a decade. So, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that this last year more people died from opioids than any other year on record. This year is shaping up to surpass last year’s opioid-related death toll.

Matters are worse these days because synthetic opioids, drugs like fentanyl continue to grow in prevalence. The drug is regularly mixed with heroin to create a deadly cocktail. Compared to 2015, there was a 17 percent uptick in overdose deaths in 2016, The New York Times reports. The surge, owed largely to synthetic opioids, is cause for concern and must be addressed.

CDC’s Dismal Report


The rate of overdose deaths rose to nearly 20 people per 100,000 in 2016, according to the article. Dr. Robert Anderson, chief of the C.D.C. mortality statistics branch, says that for people under the age of 50, overdose is now the leading cause of death.

Naturally, we can’t turn back the clock and prevent the rampant over-prescribing observed over the last two decades. While the damage is done, it doesn’t mean that doctors can’t adopt more conservative prescribing practices. Limiting the number of prescriptions written can help prevent future cases of opioid use disorder.

Today, there are over 2 million Americans with an opioid use disorder. The majority of afflicted individuals have never sought treatment. Those who desire recovery often struggle to access addiction treatment services where they live. Time is of the utmost importance with addiction. If somebody makes the decision to seek help, but can’t get it today, they are likely to change their mind tomorrow. The disease has a way of making a person’s desire for change be fleeting.

The most effective way of reducing the overdose death rate is to encourage people to seek treatment and have the option available when they are ready. Those who get help have a real opportunity at breaking the cycle of addiction and achieving lasting recovery.

Opioid Addiction is Treatable

At Hope by The Sea, we know how difficult it is to recover from opioid addiction. We are aware that people who don’t get assistance are likely to relapse, and relapse can mean death. If you are in the clutches of opioid use disorder, please contact us immediately, recovery works, and we can help you see for yourself.