The Opioid Crisis Striking North America
Welcome to Friday Insights with host Brendan Cutuli on the Mental Insights Podcast. Every Friday I plan to offer insight into current statistics within the fields of mental health, drug addiction or homelessness. After the release of Joe Mintzer's incredible story this Tuesday, I'd like to follow up with a statistic on drug addiction.
Opioid overdose rates reached around 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2017, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Common opioids can be known as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl. These are drugs that are available and readily accessible for addicts to get there hands on to try and abuse. Opioids are pain treatment drugs that are rooted from opium, which can act as a euphoria for users.
High doses of these drugs is when cardiac or respiratory arrests happen that cause overdoses and deaths around the country. As a user becomes addicted, the tolerance levels to opioids becomes higher, which leads the user to consume higher doses. Often times, some of these drugs off the street can be laced with highly concentrated opioids such as fentanyl. Fentanyl has accounted for nearly 50% of drug overdoses in 2016, researched by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
The question that arises is if any of you have been prescribed opioids from a doctor recently, are you mindful of your consumption uses? Have you or anyone close to you been using opioids for an extended period of time? If you are currently struggling with a drug addiction or want to seek advice on an issue, please do not hesitate to call SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.