According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people dying from drug overdose is constantly rising. Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC Director says that the opioid epidemic continues to get worse with each year that passes, even though authorities work around the clock to prevent more people from dying due to adrug overdose.
In 2015 alone, there has been recorded a 73 percent increase in deaths involving drug abuse. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has claimed no less than 9,500 lives over the course of the past year. At the same time, deaths that involved prescription painkillers abuse increased by four percent, summing up to a total of 17,500 lives lost. Furthermore, deaths associated with heroin claimed approximately 13,000 lives, going up with 23 percent in 2015.
Opioids represent dangerously addictive substances, mainly used to increase the dopamine levels in human patients to alleviate pain and maintain a mood balance. However, these prescription painkillers are also highly addictive, which makes some people abuse them frequently. By assimilating large quantities, the body develops a tolerance and diminishes the drug’s effects. Hence, the users find themselves in a scenario where they have to up the dose in order to make the pain relief levels and state of well-being return. Ultimately, this leads to dependence and, later on, to addiction.
Michael Botticelli is the head of the National Drug Control Policy. He believes that the deaths induced by drug overdose are closely related to the inability of the health authorities to provide people with effective treatment for substance use disorder.
According to the officials, the total number of American citizens who died from drug overdose in 2015 rose to a staggering 33,091 cases. Moreover, several incidents involved a combination of multiple drugs.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama has received the 21st Century Cures Act. This bill proposes that $1 billion should fund an expanded access to drug treatment. Via a Twitter post, the White House announced that the president will sign the paper next week.
“People seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need”, says President Barack Obama.
According to the health officials, drug overdose represents the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Last year alone, the law enforcement agencies seized roughly 370 pounds of illicit fentanyl.
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