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The consequences of the opioid epidemic

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2018 | DUI/OUI |

Pain may let you know that you are alive, but in many cases, it also keeps you from being able to function. Broken bones, surgical procedures and other injuries that you and other Massachusetts residents suffer cause a great deal of pain that you may be able to control with medications. Opioids provide the pain relief that many people need, but it comes with an often-terrible price.

The medical community considered opioids miracle drugs, and in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies built up that reputation as much as possible. In fact, they assured the public and the medical community that they did not pose any danger of addiction. Now, most people know that that assurance was unfounded. The addictive level of opioids surprised many people, and the data backs up the fact that the pharmaceutical companies lied.

The news isn’t good

Below are the statistics from 2016 and 2017 that caused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare opioids a public health crisis in 2017:

  • During this time, around 11.4 million people in the United States abused prescription opioids.
  • While approximately 2 million people throughout the country abused opioids they received through a prescription for the first time, only around 81,000 people used heroin during that same period for the first time.
  • Around 2.1 million people suffered from an opioid use disorder, and around 886,000 people used heroin.
  • About 15,469 people died from apparent overdoses of heroin. While that’s a substantial amount of people, an alarming 42,249 people died from overdoses of opioids.
  • HHS discovered that some of those deaths appeared to break down into those attributed to synthetic opioids (19,413) excluding methadone, and those attributed to prescription opioids (17,087).

As you can see, opioids are not the safe and non-addictive medications that pharmaceutical companies promised. An individual injured at work or in some other accident would trust that the prescription drugs given to them would handle the pain and then let them get on with their lives after the injuries healed. However, that doesn’t happen for everyone.

In addition to having to deal with addiction, abuse and the potential for overdose, many people end up facing drug charges for possession, distribution and other offenses associated with opioids. So many people’s lives are affected by the opioid epidemic every day. Fortunately, if you face issues regarding these highly addictive drugs, you can find the support you need to handle issues on several fronts.

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