20 Dec Opioid Epidemic Fast Facts
At Integrated Pain Consultants, we’ve unfortunately seen a number of new patients who are victims of the opioid epidemic. Both opioids and opiates (the synthetic counterpart) are strong pain management drugs that can be highly addictive if taken for prolonged periods of time. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2015 12.5 million people in the US “misused prescription opioids” while 2.1 million of those people did so for the first time. This is a relatively new epidemic, and medical professionals have the ability to step in with healthier, safer alternatives.
In 2015, 33,091 people in the US died from an opioid overdose, and that number continues to rise. A recent headline highlighted two childhood friends who both died of an opioid overdose on the same day in an unrelated incident. That highlights just how dangerous and prevalent the epidemic is. However, it was the unique history of the two young men that led to the headline. People die of an opioid overdose in the US every day.
Some opioid addicts who were prescribed the drug as a pain management tool get addicted to them and seek out other ways of “getting their fix” when prescription drugs are no longer available. Opioids are derived from the opium poppy, and a key ingredient is also used in heroin. For some patients, the transition to heroin is the only way to feed their addiction. Although just over 33,000 people in the US died from “opioid overdose” in 2015, that includes heroin overdoses. It’s impossible to know exactly how many heroin users began as opioid users. However, 15,280 people in the US died in 2015 from overdosing on “commonly prescribed opioids.” That means around half of the deaths were from prescription opioids and not heroin use.
Opioid Overuse – By the Numbers
In 2015, 135,000 people used heroin for the first time. Although the HHS can’t be certain if that relatively high number is due to the increased prescription and dependence on prescription opioids, it’s suspected. In total, 828,000 people in the US used heroin in 2015 overall. Two million people were diagnosed with “prescription opioid use disorder” and 9,580 people overdosed on synthetic opioids, also known as opiates.
Medication Management and Pain Relief
Everyone deserved pain management and relief. However, the approach needs to be conservative, safe, and healthy. For a more natural approach to pain management, contact Integrated Pain Consultants today at 480-626-2552. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.