The drug overdose epidemic is accelerating quickly, according to recent reports from Fortune and Bloomberg. Federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that drug overdose deaths spiked by 21 percent last year, which was more than the previous four years combined.1
According to the data from the CDC, for every 100,000 residents, nearly 20 died of an overdose in 2016. Comparatively, 16.3 people died of drug overdoses per 100,000 in 2015.2
This increase in drug overdose deaths is being driven by opioid abuse and extremely potent synthetic drugs that are circulating on the black market, such as fentanyl and carfentanil.3,4
More than 52,000 people died of drug overdose in 2016 and President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency late last month, which will provide more resources for treatment.
According to a report from National Public Radio, the administration’s opioid plan will expand access to telemedicine services to provide addiction treatment to those in remote areas, increase the speed of the hiring process for medical professionals working on opioids, and provide funding in programs for dislocated workers and people with HIV/AIDS to be used to treat their addictions.5
Who Is at Risk for Opioid Overdose?
Although many different drugs can cause an overdose, people who abuse opioid drugs are most likely to suffer from a non-fatal or fatal overdose.6 Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Opioid abuse following a decrease in tolerance – Individuals who have recently been released from jail, or just completed drug detox or drug and alcohol rehab program have an increased risk of overdose. This is because their tolerance is very low.
- Opioid injection – Opioid drugs that are injected can cause an overdose much more quickly than other methods of use. This may not give the user any time to call for emergency help before slipping into a state of unconsciousness, especially if they are using drugs alone.
- Prescription opioid use – People who use prescription opioid medications, particularly high doses of them, are more likely to abuse them and suffer from an overdose.
- Abuse of other sedatives – Individuals who abuse opioid drugs while also abusing alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, or other sedatives are much more likely to overdose.
Having a history of prior overdose, substance abuse and/or incarceration, having a mental health condition, lower socioeconomic status, and being male are also factors that may increase a person’s risk of overdosing.7,8
Preventing Drug Overdose: Reaching Loved Ones
If you have a loved one who is addicted to opioid drugs or any other addictive substance, early intervention is essential in preventing overdose and other harmful effects of drug abuse. Talking to a loved one about their drug abuse is the first step to helping them get the treatment they need. If a one-on-one conversation does not produce any change, you may need to enlist the help of a professional interventionist to plan a productive intervention with the family and loved ones of the addicted individual.
At Nova Recovery Center, we can provide intervention assistance and connect you with a professional interventionist who can help you get your loved one into treatment. Our addiction treatment center provides a full continuum of care and a long-term rehab program that gives individuals the skills and tools they need to live a life of sobriety.
You don’t have to live in fear that your loved one may overdose at any minute. Please call (512) 605-2955 to speak to a Nova Recovery Center representative and learn more about our drug rehab program.