Opiate Abuse In The US

opioids drugs painkillers

As 2016 draws to an end, data regarding the fatality of the opioid abuse epidemic is being finalized. The Washington Post recently published an article: “Where opiates killed the most people in 2015”. According to the article, 33,000 individuals died of an opioid overdose last year. Accurately, the article explains that it is inadequate to continue suggesting America is suffering from one blanketed opioid epidemic. The data, the article suggests, reveals that America is in fact dealing with multiple opioid epidemics at once.

Areas Hit Worst By The Opioid Epidemic

“Nationally,” the article explains, “there are about 10.4 deaths by opioid overdose for every 100,000 people.” However, the deaths are not consistent from one state to the other. Concentrated opioid deaths occurred in: New England, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. For heroin deaths specifically, Ohio and West Virginia led the country. 2015 saw the beginning of the rise of overdose death due to synthetic opioids like Fentanyl. Again, New England, Ohio, and West Virginia had the highest count. Additionally, the entire east side of the country saw a higher concentration of synthetic opioid deaths, with Missouri being the farthest western state.

Confronting The Issue

“There’s not just one opiate epidemic but several,” the article explains. “For policymakers, this may mean that solving the problem will similarly require a more nuanced basket of solutions than a blanket “war on drugs.” America has received criticism for its “war on drugs” being ineffective. Recently, the US Surgeon General released his special report, focusing specifically on opiate addiction in the United States. He called for many measures to be taken including harm reduction and preventative practices.

Why Opioid Abuse Is So High

Addiction is complex and stems from many causes. Revealing research and investigation exposed that promises made by opiate painkiller companies regarding the strength and time release of certain medications led people to dependency. Opioid painkillers are severely over-prescribed in America without the proper information regarding abuse, dependency, and addiction. For those predisposed to addiction, an innocent prescription for an injury could be fatal. Heroin and street level synthetic opiates are cheaper than prescription painkillers. Many turn to heroin and synthetic opiates to continue managing their pain and supporting their addiction.


Refuge Recovery offers medically assisted detox for those needing to withdraw from opiate substances. Our spectrum of care includes residential inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and more. We provide treatment for mind, body, and spirit, so you can lead a more authentic and fulfilling life. For more information on our treatment programs for opioid addiction, call or text 323-207-0276.

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