An epidemic is defined as “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.” Since the year 2,000, opioid dependency has spread through communities around America and the world. Counties have witnessed record breaking overdose deaths in both young people and older populations. Heroin, prescription painkillers, and other types of opioids have contributed to countless lives lost. According to the CDC, 28,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2014.
Who is becoming dependent on opioids? Looking to data provided by insurance companies, researchers examined over 150 million patients who made insurance company claims related to opioid dependency. Specifically, the codes researchers searched for were:
- Opioid dependency and abuse
- Adverse effects of heroin use
- Problems caused by misuse/abuse of other types of opiates like prescription drugs
The correlation between an increase in the use of opioid related insurance codes and the growing attention on the opioid epidemic cannot be ignored. While the information from the study is not illegitimate, it isn’t completely without causation. Researchers believe that prevention measures being taken on state and federal levels are helping contribute to decreasing numbers in opioid dependency. For example, almost every state operates a prescription monitoring system. Prescription opioid sales dropped 11.8 percent from 2012 to 2015 after almost tripling between 2000-2012.
Findings from their information on opioid dependency included these facts:
- The most likely age population to be diagnosed with opioid dependency was found between the ages of 19-35 years old
- Younger patients within the 19-35 year old age range are more likely to have overdosed on heroin than older patients
- Older patients, however, were more likely to overdose on other types of opioids like prescription painkillers. These patients were between the ages of mid-40’s to mid-50’s
- Opioid dependency was more commonly assigned to men than women
- For patients aged within the mid-40’s to mid-50’s range, 45% of those diagnosed were women
- Women were more likely to overdose on opioids than men. Women are known for being more likely to develop chronic pain and abuse opioid drugs like painkillers.
- In 7 years, the number of office visits and diagnostic tests for individuals diagnosed with opioid dependency saw a 3,000% increase.
The suffering attached to the abuse of opioid drugs is unrelenting. Refuge Recovery offers a Buddhist based treatment program for letting go of your attachment to harmful drugs in your life, such as opioids. We offer various levels of care from detox to sober living. For more information on our treatment programs for opioid addiction call 323-207-0276.