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Last Year Was The Worst Year In US History For Drug Overdoses

Posted by Informed Families on August 26, 2018 at 5:31 PM

prescription-drug-USDrug overdose was responsible for the loss of nearly 72,000 Americans in 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. That’s just under 200 people each day for the entire year - and 8,000 more deaths than the previous year, also a record year. At least 2/3 of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Here are two trends that are contributing to this awful epidemic.

From Pills To Heroin

Patients receiving prescription drugs for pain as a result of an injury or recovering from surgery are often given significantly more than they need. While opioids are effective in managing pain, their addictive properties make them dangerous for long-term use.

However, as law enforcement and states are cracking down on pill mills and restricting the number of opioid pills prescribed at one time, people who are addicted to opioids are finding it more difficult to obtain the drugs and are subsequently feeling ill. Many opioid addicts turn to heroin which is more widely available, often stronger and cheaper and produces the same feelings of euphoria. It's estimated that 80% of heroin abusers started with prescription drugs.

Fentanyl: The New "F" Word

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is responsible for the vast majority of drug overdoses, a result of its potency. Similar to heroin but exponentially stronger and therefore more lethal, fentanyl is often laced into heroin to strengthen it or sold by itself. The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if the drug user isn't aware that a powder or pill contains the deadly drug. High doses of opioids such as Fentanyl can cause breathing to stop completely, ultimately leading to death. 

Something We Can All Do To Help Reduce Overdoses

For those of us (really, most of us) with prescription medications at home, it's really important that we store medicines in a locked case, and take regular inventory of our medications to ensure nothing is missing. Safe disposal of unused or expired medication is the third recommendation to any homeowner. It's a smart strategy for families with kids of any age (not just teenagers).

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prescription drugs, drug abuse, opioids

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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