The danger of the opioid epidemic has steadily grown in recent years, and has recently achieved another bleak milestone. For the first time on record, US citizens are now in more danger of dying from an opioid overdose than of being killed in a car crash.
The National Safety Council (NSC) conducted a study of preventable injury-related deaths and uncovered this disturbing trend from all of the statistics collected and analyzed in 2017 compared to those of 2016. Home and public deaths increased significantly by 6% and was predominantly due to an 11% rise in poisoning deaths (including opioid overdoses).
In an email to CNN Maureen Vogel, spokeswoman for the NSC wrote,
“Too many people still believe the opioid crisis is abstract and will not impact them. Many still do not see it as a major threat to them or their family.” She went on to say, “These data show the gravity of the crisis. We have known for some time that opioid overdose is an everyday killer, and these odds illustrate that in a very jarring way.”
Drug addiction is no longer considered a disease soley affecting urban neighborhoods. That is a myth. It touches every demographic in every corner of every state. Another depressing study published by the US Centres for Disease Control reports that overall life expectancy in America fell fractionally in 2017, from 78.7 to 78.6 years, which was primarily attributed to an increase in suicides and overdoses adding 2.4 more deaths per 100,000 Americans.
Though these trends can be alarming and initially overwhelming it should be noted that these are only trends, and trends can be turned around. The NSC have reported their findings every year since 1913 in order to lower the rate of preventable injuries and death.
Here’s what you can do
Keep yourself educated
The current opioid crisis has many causes, some of which are still unknown. The best thing you can do is to learn what addiction is, and what the signs and causes are.
Get help when you need it
Unfortunately there is still a lot of shame that comes with all kinds of addiction even though it’s clinically designated as a disease. If you, or someone you know, has a problem with addiction the best thing is to ask your doctor or a licensed behavioral healthcare provider for assistance.
Take pain management seriously
One of the leading causes of opioid death is due to an addiction developed from prescribed pain medicines. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a pain management plan that keeps opioid-based pain medicine to a minimum.