distraught young man sitting outside with head in his hands attempting to understand the opioid epidemic statistcis

Understanding Opioid Epidemic Statistics

Opioids are potent drugs that alleviate pain and provide a euphoric sensation. Both legal, prescribed medications and illicit drugs are classified as opioids. Some of the most common are:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 90 people die from an opioid overdose each day. In addition, nearly two million people abuse opioids annually. Opioid epidemic statistics make up a significant percentage of overall drug and alcohol abuse in the United States.

Opioids, drugs derived from the poppy plant, come in two primary forms: natural and synthetic. Overdose or addiction to opioids can lead to a wide range of side effects, including terminal health problems and fatality. Without the help of an opioid addiction treatment program, like The Right Step Houston, the cycle of addiction can take control. Call 1.844.768.0169 to learn more.

Key Opioid Epidemic Statistics

Many people who take opioids either do not realize they are addicted or deny their addiction. One of the reasons for this is that many of the products on the market are prescription medications. Even when a user increases the dosage, they may not realize how hooked they are on the drugs.

Opioid epidemic statistics are a wake-up call to just how bad the problem is.

For example, consider the amount of opioids legally circulating in America:

  • In 2016, U.S. doctors wrote 214,881,622 opioid prescriptions, 66.5 prescriptions per 100 U.S. citizens.
  • In 2017, U.S. doctors wrote 191,909,384 opioid prescriptions, 59.0 prescriptions per 100 U.S. citizens.
  • In 2018 U.S. doctors wrote 168,158,611 opioid prescriptions, 51.4 prescriptions per 100 U.S. citizens.
  • In 2019 U.S. doctors wrote 153,260,450  opioid prescriptions, 46.7 prescriptions per 100 U.S. citizens.

Additionally, consider these statistics:

  • Opioid-involved overdose deaths rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017 and remained steady in 2018 with 46,802 deaths. A significant increase followed this through 2020 to 68,630 overdose deaths. 
  • Since 1999, painkiller sales have risen by 300%
  • 30% of people who take prescription opioids abuse them

One of the main reasons why users abuse prescription opioids is that they are unaware of their addictive properties. Furthermore, there is a lack of education and awareness provided by the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community regarding opioid epidemic statistics.

Why Are Opioids So Addictive?

Once opioids enter the central nervous system, they immediately bind to receptors in the brain. While they produce different reactions, the common thread is that the brain responds to the reaction in a way that produces pleasure. In most cases, the pleasure comes in the form of euphoria, relaxation, or pain reduction. This action rewires the brain’s reward system. At a treatment center, evidence-based addiction therapies help each individual understand why they reach for these drugs. Then, they can learn the coping skills they need for long-term recovery.

One of the opioid epidemic statistics that many people are unaware of is that addiction to opioids can begin in as little as three days. However, addiction doesn’t occur overnight. It slowly progresses over a period of several weeks, months, or years. Eventually, a user forms a dependency on the drug. They get to a point where they feel as though they cannot live without the substance. This is especially the case when users have to increase the dosage to continue feeling the effects.

Don’t Become A Statistic of the Opioid Epidemic – Contact The Right Step Houston

Regardless of the opioid epidemic statistics, help is available for opioid addiction. The Right Step Houston offers comprehensive Houston, TX substance abuse treatment programs for all types of addictions. We provide detox, rehab, and aftercare to ensure a successful recovery. To find out more about your treatment options, call us at 1.844.768.0169. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.

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