Opioid Abuse Statistics in America

Millions of Americans use opioids every year to relieve pain. In many cases, these opioids are doctor prescribed. However, recent opioid abuse statistics show that in 2017, 11 million people misused prescribed opioids. In 2018, nearly 47,000 people died of opioid-related abuse.

The numbers aren’t reducing because, despite limiting opioid abuse, doctors still write opioid prescriptions. According to many opioid abuse statistics, in comparison to other substance abuse, opioids have led to one of America’s worst drug crises.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are medications commonly prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain. Popular opioids used are:

  • Prescribed opioids like morphine, Vicodin, and Oxycontin
  • Synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is about 100 times more potent than morphine
  • Illegal opioids like heroin

In 2018, 9.9 million people misused prescription opioids, and 880,000 misused heroin. Opioids gained popularity in the 1990s for surgery use. However, in the last decade, these drugs are prescribed to patients with persistent and severe pains like chronic headaches, backaches, accidents, cancer-associated pains, and injuries.

Opioid abuse statistics in America show that the opioid epidemic came to be due to over-prescription and the surplus of opioids.

How Opioid Works

Opioids mimic the pain-relieving hormones (opiates) the body naturally produces. Opiates and opioids work by interacting with the opioid receptors in the brain cells. They attach to the receptors in the brain cells, and the cells muffle the perception of pain and increase the feeling of comfort.

Opioid Abuse/Addiction

Opioids are very addictive. About 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids misuse them, and about 8-12 % develop opioid use disorder.

People become easily dependent on opioids as the brain starts to believe the drug is necessary for survival. Also, dependence comes with tolerance, which means people will require higher doses to reach the desired effect.
Tolerance can lead to addiction/opioid use disorder whereby a person becomes dependent on opioids and uses them compulsively, thereby resulting in addiction.

According to NIDA, more than 2 million Americans misuse opioids, and more than 90 die every day from an opioid overdose.

Is Opioid Abuse Prevalent in America?

Yes. Opioid abuse is so prevalent that it is now ruled as a prolonged epidemic threatening public health, national security, and economic welfare.

An opioid abuse statistics showed that over 750,000 people died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2018, and two out of three overdose deaths are opioid-related. According to the CDC, the total economic burden of prescription opioids in the US is $78.5 billion a year.

How to Get Help With Opioid Addiction

Due to the prevalence of opioid abuse, there have been many emergency responses and approaches to reduce this drug crisis and treat those affected. There are many programs and facilities dedicated to helping people recover from substance use disorder, including opioids.

These programs and facilities offer effective treatment options for opioid addiction. Treatment may include:

  • Detoxification to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Therapies at inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Holistic approaches
  • Aftercare

The best way to treat opioid addiction is to seek professional help as soon as possible. If you or your loved one struggles with addiction, whether opioid or other substance, we are here for you at Enlight Treatment Center.

We want people to live healthier lives, and we do this by providing treatment for substance use and underlying mental health disorders.

Enlight Treatment Center has a 3:1 staff ratio, a luxurious facility, and treatment programs that truly work. Each client will get a personalized treatment program designed to fit their individual needs. Start your road to recovery today by contacting us today!

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Our admissions team is available 24/7 for those in need of treatment. Even if we are not a match for you or your loved one, we are here to help. It is a cornerstone practice of  Enlight Treatment Center to serve as a bridge between the community and treatment.