The growing incidence of drug overdose in the U.S.

Drug overdose claiming lives have become fatal than manslaughter. Regardless of demographics, gender, and geographical areas, drug overdose massacres are on the hike. The United States, which notably has had a riveting and substantial history around drug usage, continue to fight the feud over drugs.

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Almost 72,287 people fell prey to a drug overdose in 2017, near about 10% increase from the previous year- according to CDC.

Over the years, the type of drugs and their effects have shifted. With the dwindling use of one drug, new drug came in alluring new and old individuals from various regions at a speedy rate. Merely controlling specific drugs won’t prevent or resolve anything. Rather delving into deeper factors propelling the epidemic would be fair.

2016 saw the death of around 63,632 Americans due to the drug overdose. A 21.5% increase from the year 2015. Mainly strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl boosted the fatalities in 2016. In 2017, new data suggest for about 49000 deaths occurred due to opioids followed by heroin and other drugs killing beyond 29000 people. Men between 25 to 44 ages saw the sharpest climb.

U.S. hospital emergency unit reported about 142,000 overdoses from July 2016 to September 2017. Wisconsin showed 109% and Delaware showed 105% increases in overdoses which were more than twice. Another dramatic increase occurred in Pennsylvania also showed a drastic increase of 81% according to the reports.

The month of October saw The U.S. President Donald Trump himself calling it a public health emergency when substance abuse reached its peak. 

Aids have never been so deadly as this drug epidemic. Statistics say nearly 200 people died every day in 2017 from the drug overdose. 

Though some states like Vermont, Massachusetts, Wyoming, and Montana have started to show some improvements in the number of casualties, still deaths across the country have shown a sustained hike due to the addiction spreading through treatment, education and many more.

Psychostimulants, cocaine, prescription opioids, and heroin claiming deaths rose by 33.3%, 52.4%, 10.6%, and 19.5% respectively from 2015 to 2016. But the report says, that these drugs are frequently braided with fentanyl too, which furnish to shoot up mortality rate. 21 among 31 states including Washington Dc saw deaths for the drug overdose of synthetic opioid and rates doubled for the rest 10.

In compliance with Donald Trump’s effort to slash opioid prescription supply by one-third in three years, the justice department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said the cut would be according to that.  The production limit for hydrocodone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, oxycodone, and fentanyl are recommended to be cut by 7% to 15%, depending on the fusion, in 2019, said the justice department and the DEA. 

 Opioid manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharmaceuticals LP, Mallinckrodt, and Endo International plc, are also thought to be responsible for contributing to the epidemic as thousands of charges and lawsuits have been pressed by countries, cities, and states.

Besides the sharp spike in fatality rate for the use of opioids, fentanyl, the synthetically produced drug, which is about 50 times stronger than heroin, is serving to maintain the peak of overall death rates. Mainly overseas countries and China are conveying this drug into the country and sometimes sold to users by blending with heroin without them knowing it.

None of them suggests how to control this growing incidence of a drug overdose in the U.S. in a single tight loop. However, dynamic drug manufacturing, lower prices, and expansions of drug markets, enhanced communications, are contributing to the factors of immense drug supply, while, Psychological and sociological factors are also escalating the demand.

Certainly, it’s not a surprise that every 1 of 2 Hollywood celebrities has suffered from some kind of drug abuse.  Besides many others like Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen, David Hasselhoff, Lindsay Lohan fell prey to drug abuse at a very young age. Starting her career as one of the most popular actresses, Lohan quickly descended from the crest and hardly got to enjoy her time at the top before her frantic drug habit consumed her and ended her career. She was in the prime of her career when everything fell apart. For her uncontrolled drug problem, which even leads to a couple of arrests, Lohan even had to attend rehab facilities. Eventually, her endeavor may have extricated her from the drug abuse but her drowned career might never be truly restored.

Strategies to be undertaken against drug overdose

Some approaches can be considered for addressing such a situation- 

  • Firstly, “doctor shopping” should be prevented and the reckless use of opioids should be reduced by merging prescription data with insurance restrictions. State prescription drug monitoring programs or insurance claim information can track users frequently acquiring early refills, users obtaining the same drug from several sources, and people engaging in different other ill-suited behaviors.
  • Secondly, ameliorating legislation and implementation of persisting laws. There are laws against doctor shopping in most states and countries, but they are not being implemented systematically.
  • Thirdly, while prescribing opioids, improved and enhanced medical practice is to be followed. Patients suffering from intense chronic pain should be handled with care. Their treatment being challenging, many prescribers having no or little awareness on this issue, usually start their patients on opioids anticipating vexatious benefits from the therapy.
  • Distribution and promotion of drug overdose-reversing drugs to fight the crisis.
  • Encouraging groundbreaking research on addiction and pain.
  • Preventing, curing, and recovering- all three sectors need to be improvised.

 It is a paradox of irrevocable growth as a whole, composed of vacillating sub-epidemics. Evidence says the most severe past epidemics have been controlled. So this situation should also be solvable. If we look closely and delve into these key factors eating the core of our society we should be able to revive the situation for good. One of the key factors happens to be neighborhood…Evidence suggests that staying in a safe neighborhood may have a positive impact especially on teenagers, who easily get drawn to bad habits in bad surroundings.  Therefore, when you go home hunting and are looking for Apartments for rent, the first thing you need to look out is for apparently clean areas with less crime rate. 

Looking beyond the afflicted society and regretting won’t solve anything. Everything should go in hand in hand to renew the country from this doomed situation which is affecting every other person with or without their knowledge.

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