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Drug Overdose Deaths Surpass Auto Accident Deaths

July 10, 2017
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For the first time in history the number of drug overdose deaths and opiate overdose death have surpassed motor vehicle deaths.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 there were approximately 32,000 deaths caused by auto accidents.  That same year, drug-induced deaths claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 people and that number is growing exponentially.

Opiates play a powerful role in these deaths.  This includes prescribed medicine such as Vicodin, Duladid, Morphine, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl.  For many, prescribed opiates can eventually lead to cheaper, more powerful drugs such as heroin, which can all be attributed to an opiate overdose death.

Midwestern towns in Ohio are running out of room in morgues. According to a CNN interview, Dr. Ann Difrangia explains, “Many medical examiners are having to rent cooler trucks because they don’t have enough room to store the dead bodies.”  This is a powerful and eye-opening statement.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 114 people die a day because of drugs (TIME magazine offers a much higher estimate), and 6,748 will be sent to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.

What do we do with this information?  Fortunately, there are many choices when it combating opiate addiction or any addiction for that matter, but the addict must first want help.  The faces of addicts have changed in recent times.   The ‘junkie’ has morphed into someone who is middle-class, has health insurance, may or may not own a home and has a decent education.  Many families are being torn apart by the addict’s appetite for opiates, and many people do not know where to turn for help.

For many people struggling with addiction, rehabilitation may seem like the end of the road.  People may be scared of the unknown and for many, a drug rehabilitation center is new territory. What the addict doesn’t realize is that rehabs put their safety as their number one priority.  In treatment, they are going to learn a new way of living and coping with the emotions that have held them hostage for so long.

Detoxification is difficult, fortunately, this is only the beginning. Thanks to the new Federal Grant, millions of dollars will help boost drug treatment capacities. This means more people than ever will be helped with treatment and there are lots of treatment choices out there. In-patient treatment centers, where the alcoholic or addict receives counseling, therapy and process groups are more effective than people trying to kick the habit by themselves. Often times the addict has promised to quit on several occasions, to no avail.

Most insurances will now pay for treatment and treatment medications to help curb the addict’s appetite for opiates and other drugs. The first step in getting help is admitting there is a problem. People addicted to drugs are now classified with having a “disease,” and like treating any disease, it must be identified first and then it can be treated.




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Warren Boyd
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