Opioid Addiction Rates, Overdoses,

The opioid crisis has been a hotly debated topic over the last few years. How did this epidemic happen? Why does it seem worse in some states? How can this be prevented in the future? All of the answers to these questions are complex, with people blaming everything from the drug companies to the individuals suffering from addiction. However, one interesting question is why does the rate of opioid addiction vary from state to state?

Different states and different rates of opioid use?

From the years 2002 to 2017, according to a nonprofit market researcher, the states of California, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida had the highest reported rates of opioid abuse. One reason for this trend according to some researchers is that there was a shift away from pharmaceuticals and prescriptions to illicit drugs like fentanyl and heroin between 2012 and 2014. Statistics vary on the precise rate of opioid use and misuse in various states, but experts believe the causes relate to the rate of prescribed opioids and the public-health infrastructure in place to deal with opioid addiction.

The following states had significant increases in death rates involving prescription opioids: West Virginia, Maryland, Maine, and Utah, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, an influx of illegal opioids has contributed to abuse in some areas. Residents in lower-income areas may be less able to afford alternative treatments for chronic pain and more prone to opioid abuse. Americans on a low income may not be able to afford alternative care or surgery, which effectively means they would have more need for opioid prescriptions to deal with chronic pain. Another problem is that some people are not able to take time off from work. Or they are unable to pay for travel to health clinics for regular care.

Physicians may also have less time to spend treating and diagnosing patients. Increasingly, larger hospitals and health systems are absorbing many of the available primary-care physicians (PCPs). This has created shorter appointment times with some PCPs only averaging 7- or 8-minute appointments in order to hit productivity targets. The lack of quality primary-care doctors is a significant factor. This means that in less populated states like Kentucky and West Virginia, there is a tendency to practice more traditional pain management treatment options. These options can rely heavily on the use of prescription pain medications as a quick, cheap and effective treatment. Yet, in the long-run, this treatment approach can create problems due to the need to take more pain medication in order to achieve the same therapeutic effect.

Possible Solutions to the Opioid Crisis?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that an effective way to prevent drug overdoses is to synchronized treatment programs requires collaboration and coordination of resources between law enforcement, first responders, mental health/substance-abuse providers, public health agencies and community partners. Opioid abuse is still a public health problem. There were an estimated 71,500 drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending in January, up from 67,000 predicted deaths for the previous 12-month period, according to the CDC. The state of Nebraska experienced a 33 percent increase in opioid overdoses, which is a substantial jump. However, Nebraska was still among the least affected states in regards to opioid abuse.

Overall, the crisis is estimated to cost the country more than $500 billion a year, as of 2015, according to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers. President Trump declared said he would consider bringing lawsuits against “bad actors,” including pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers. In March, the president called for more ways to combat the opioid epidemic, including instructing the Justice Department to seek more death-penalty cases against drug traffickers and asking for more federal support of overdose-reversal medications, including naloxone. More federal funding has been approved for preventing and treating Opioid addiction, yet many healthcare observers advocate that more money is needed.

There are still serious side effects from the use of buprenorphine medications like Suboxone. Due to this fact, only a qualified and legally-certified physician can legally dispense or prescribe these opioid dependency medications. For additional information or questions about this medication, contact the staff at Columbus Addiction Center. Our direct phone numbers are (614) 532 – 1782 or (614) 532 – 7299.

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Opioid Addiction Rates, Overdoses,

Contributor: ABCS RCM