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An Update on the Opioid Epidemic

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released its most recent report regarding the opioid epidemic.  In one sense, we are winning the fight against opioids; however, we are losing ground against one formidable foe: Fentanyl.

According to the report, for the first time in nearly three decades, the overdose death rate as a result of prescription opioid abuse fell 5% in 2018.  Although the number may seem small, consider the thousands of people that have lost their lives as a result of this disease.  The efforts at the federal and state level are providing some hope that we can quell the unrelenting wave that is opioid abuse.

In 2017, a reported 14,926 died from prescription opioid overdose.  The number dropped to 12,757 in 2018.

So, this is the good news.  We finally have a death rate moving in a favorable direction.  But the battle is far from over.

Now, let’s move onto the bad news.

While the opioid death rate has decreased, the death rate resulting from Fentanyl overdose has skyrocketed in recent years.  In 2015, Fentanyl officially passed prescription opioids as the most lethal overdose substance.  It has taken the lead comfortably as the primary killer of addicts young and old.

In 2014, Fentanyl overdose deaths tallied at just under 6,000.  In 2018, a staggering 32,000 people died as a result of Fentanyl.

It’s been a long week, so we can help you with the math.  In just four short years, 26,000 more people died in a 12-month span from Fentanyl.

A scary realization is many addicts do not know they are ingesting Fentanyl.  Drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are laced with the substance unbeknownst to the user.  It has quite accurately earned the nickname: the Silent Killer.

The CDCP’s report provides a glimmer of hope that efforts are not completely null, but often the most dangerous enemy is the one that cannot be seen.  As long as Fentanyl is on the streets, people will die.

We will continue to monitor the situation.

As always, if you or a loved one need help, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We are happy to help point you in the right direction.