Thursday, March 30, 2017

Opioid Abuse and Death in America

In 2015, opioid related deaths hit a record of just under 33,100.  That was more than all the deaths related to heroin and cocaine use, combined.  It's only 2000 deaths short of the number of motor vehicle fatalaties in that same year. The principal reason for this problem is over-prescribing by doctors.  Still, they continue to prescribe these drugs to at-risk individuals, and the rate of deaths  keeps climbing at an uncontrolled rate and accelerating; nearly tripling since 2002:

In this country, ground zero for this problem is Maryland and its largest city Baltimore.  The rate of opioid-related hospital admissions in Maryland in 2014 was 362 per 100,000 citizens. Substantially higher that the average of 225 per 100,000 for all of the United States.  But, the real problem is Baltimore and the 977 admissions per 100,000 citizens.  A serious issue in that city is that hospital emergency rooms are not permitted to treat opioid addiction for low income users.   As a result, the only time one of these individuals is admitted to an emergency room is after it is too late and that person has already overdosed.

Because of the frequency of opioid deaths in the state, Maryland's Governor has declared a state of emergency.  And now, President Trump has created a commission to study and recommend changes to control what is now an epidemic.


Opioid overdose deaths just jumped again:

Motor Vehicle Deaths by Year:

CDC: Physicians are a leading source of prescription opioids for the highest-risk users:

Opioid users filling Maryland hospital beds and emergency rooms:

Source of Graph: CDC: Overdose Death Rates:

Maryland governor declares state of emergency for opioid crisis:

Opioid Epidemic: Trump to Set Up Commission on Addiction Crisis:

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