Opiate Addiction Is Growing
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each day there are 44 people who die from prescription painkillers overdose. This rate makes addiction to prescription painkillers that leading cause of accidental death in the United States – above car accidents. But what’s worse is that this rate is growing. There are thousands of people addicted to either prescription pain medicine or heroin.
Both prescription pain medicine and heroin are opiates and it’s common for people to turn to heroin when they’ve run out of prescriptions or money to get more pain medicine. Heroin is cheaper and more accessible despite being illegal to use, buy, or sell. Yet because of the greater accessibility of heroin, the rate of heroin overdose in the United States has quadrupled between 2000 to 2013.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there were approximately 19,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain medicine and about 10,600 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.
Finding a Solution
If you do the math – 44 people dying each day because of prescription pain medicine multiplied by 365 days per year – there are over $16,000 people dying each year because of prescription pain pills alone. Because of these staggering numbers politicians, public officials, and leaders in the field of recovery have been working together to find a solution.
One such answer is the recent bill that was passed in the Senate that would help fund more organizations that provide addiction treatment services. According to the New York Times, this bill is the largest of its kind since 2008 when insurance companies were mandated to cover addiction treatment services.
The new bill gives the Attorney General power to provide grants to states, local governments and non-profit organizations for certain programs.
For instance, grants can be used for programs that monitor prescription drug use, improve treatment for addicts, and expand prevention. It can also fund programs that help educate the public as well as law enforcement projects.
The Senate vote was almost unanimous with a vote of 94 to 1. The bill was sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.
This Bill Could Be The Answer
Although typically, Democrats and Republicans do not see eye to eye, the two parties agreed that there were lives to save and that passing this bill could be the answer. Praising the bill when she approached the Senate floor, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska commented that the opiate addiction epidemic is “probably one of the most pressing public health issues facing American families across the country.” It was clear that something had to be done.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an opiate addiction, there is help for you and your family. You can find a facility that provides detoxification services as well as medication management. Typically, someone with an opiate addiction is placed on methadone, slowly weaning off until that person is free of opiates entirely. With the new bill passed, there are resources that can help you get the services you need to heal, grow, and recover.
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