The Consequences Of Drug Abuse
In 2017, the cost of drug abuse in the US was nearly $272 billion, taking into account crime, healthcare needs, lost work productivity and other impacts on society.
- $193 billion was incurred in overall costs for illegal drugs in addition to $78.5 billion for prescription opioids.
- $11 billion was incurred in healthcare costs related to the use of illegal drugs and $26 billion for prescription opioids.
- 326,000 hospitalizations occurred for nonfatal drug poisonings or overdoses occurred in 2016, including unintentional, undetermined intent, and intentional self-harm.
- 577,794 emergency room visits occurred for nonfatal drug poisonings or overdoses in 2016 with the most patients experiencing opioid poisoning.
- There are new psychoactive substances entering the market every year. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of known psychoactive substances being sold increased from 269 to 479.
- Drug abuse often results in comorbidity- nearly 50% of persons who have substance abuse disorder also experience mental illness.
Heightened Risk of Disease
High-risk behaviors and drug abuse also result in much higher chances of contracting viral infections such as hepatitis or HIV.
What Are Some Efforts To Restrict Domestic Supply
Federal agencies, state governments, insurance providers, and physicians all influence the supply of opioid medications.
Federal regulators have introduced new limits on opioid prescriptions, reducing the total nationwide in 2019 by nearly 40 percent from the peak in 2012, according to the CDC. Current CDC guidelines advise physicians not to prescribe opioids as a first-line therapy. Meanwhile, the DEA has required pharmaceutical companies to reduce their production of certain opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine, by at least 25 percent. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the agency allowed production boosts for substances including codeine, fentanyl, and morphine.
The Justice Department has ramped up efforts to prosecute those involved in overprescribing and trafficking. In 2018, it partnered with nearly all state attorneys general to share opioid prescription information in order to investigate drug crimes and soon after brought charges against more than 150 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others for their alleged roles in distributing opioids. Two years later, the department filed a civil suit against Walmart for allegedly failing to stop hundreds of thousands of improper prescriptions.
Risk Factors For Opioid Overdose
There are a number of risk factors for opioid overdose. These include:
- having an opioid use disorder
- taking opioids by injection
- resumption of opioid use after an extended period of abstinence
- using prescription opioids without medical supervision
- high prescribed dosage of opioids .
- using opioids in combination with alcohol and/or other substances or medicines that suppress respiratory function such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, anesthetics or some pain medications and
- having concurrent medical conditions such as HIV, liver or lung diseases or mental health conditions.
Males, people of older age and people with low socio-economic status are at higher risk of opioid overdose than women, people of young age groups and people with higher socio-economic status.
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Opioid Abuse Among Demographics
Males consistently abuse opioids more than females except among 12- to 17-year-olds.
- Adult usage is most prevalent among people of two or more races and American Indian or Alaska Native people .
- Annual usage grew between 2018 and 2019 among Asians , people of two or more races , and Hispanic or Latino people
- People with some college or an associateâs degree are most likely to use opioids, with 4.2% using in 2019.
- Also in 2019, opioid use increased among college graduates and those who did not complete high school 8.1%.
- 7% of unemployed adults misused opioids in 2019, down from 8.8% in 2018.
- 3.6% of part-time employees misused opioids in 2019, down from 4.2% in 2018.
- Opioid abuse increased among full-time employees, to 3.9% up from 3.8%..
Opioid Overdose Deaths By Drug Type
Fatal opioid overdoses are generally recorded according to many subcategories. Figures come from 2019 data.
Main categories include:
- Synthetic Opioid Deaths : 36,359
- Heroin Deaths: 5,273
From 2018 to 2019, drug overdoses involving all drugs increased by 5% while opioid-involved deaths increased by approximately 6%.
Heroin deaths and prescription opioid deaths decreased by 6% and 7% respectively.
However, synthetic opioid-related deaths increased by over 15%.
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Drug Abuse Among Demographics
Statistics indicate that some demographics and communities face elevated risks of drug abuse and drug disorders.
- Persons previously abusing drugs and recently released from prison are at the highest risk for overdose as their tolerance to the drug has dropped while being incarcerated.
- Club drugs such as ecstasy, meth, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, and GHB are primarily used in higher-income settings by young people.
- Among lower-income users, the most commonly used drugs are inhalants such as paint thinner, gasoline, paint, correction fluid and glue.
- 6.3 million LGBT+ adults had a substance or mental abuse disorder or both.
- 7% of LGBT+ adults struggled with illegal drugs.
- 2% of LGBT+ adults struggled with alcohol abuse.
- 8% struggled with both illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.
- 3% indicated a serious mental illness.
Drug Abuse Among Age Groups
While younger people are more likely to use drugs, the rate of drug use among people over 40 is increasing faster than it is among younger age grups.
- The drug-related death rate for users over 50 increases 3% annually.
- 75% of deaths from drug use disorders among users aged 50 years and older are caused by opioids.
- 6% of drug deaths among 50-plus users are from cocaine and amphetamines, and 13% are from other drugs.
- 35% of college students indicated they use illegal drugs instead of prescription drugs.
- 93% of college students who use illegal drugs use marijuana.
- 37% use cocaine and 36% use hallucinogens.
Drug Abuse Among States
What Are Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms And How Can You Alleviate Them
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can but wonât necessarily include some of the following:
- Drug cravings
- Feeling cold
Opioid withdrawal symptoms generally last between three and five days, although they can last up to 10 days, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine .
Withdrawal from opioids can be difficult and even dangerous. Trying to quit âcold turkeyâ is not recommended, ASAM advises, because it can lead to stronger cravings and continued use. The safest way to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms is through medically supervised treatment that generally includes medicines, counseling, and support. Some medications used to relieve withdrawal symptoms are methadone and buprenorphine . These medications can also be used as long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependence. In addition, a medication called clonidine can be used during withdrawal to help reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping. It does not help reduce cravings. The addiction medicine physician may also prescribe medication to treat vomiting and diarrhea and help with insomnia.
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What Is The Difference Between Drug Tolerance Dependence And Addiction
Drug tolerance and dependence are a normal part of taking any opioid drug for a long time. You can be tolerant to, or dependent on, a drug and not yet be addicted to it.
Addiction, however, is not normal. It is a disease. You are addicted to a drug when it seems that neither your body nor your mind can function without the drug. Addiction causes you to obsessively seek out the drug, even when the drug use causes behavior, health, or relationship problems.
Three Waves Of Opioid Overdose Deaths
From 19992019, nearly 500,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids1.
This rise in opioid overdose deaths can be outlined in three distinct waves.
Many opioid-involved overdose deaths also include other drugs9.10.
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Stigma Makes It More Difficult To Receive Compassionate High
Access to treatment dramatically favors white individuals, who are 35 times more likely to receive a prescription for buprenorphine, a medication for addiction treatment shown to increase the odds of successful, long-term recovery.
Black people are more likely to experience negative legal outcomes for drug offenses. Approximately 14% of the US population is Black and they use substances at similar rates as other populations but they represent 29% of arrests for drug offenses and 33% of people incarcerated for drug offenses.
Pearls And Other Issues
OUD has reached epidemic proportions both in the US and worldwide. Forty-nine US states have enacted prescription drug monitoring programs.
Other preventive treatments include good samaritan laws and naloxone distribution for overdose death prevention, harsher penalties for drug dealers, disincentives to the prescription of opioids, needle-exchanges to curtail infectious complications, and increased state and federal funding for rehabilitation and recovery.
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What Percentage Of Opioid Addicts Recover
Between 40 and 60 percent of people with any addiction relapse back into substance misuse, so it is difficult to know how many people truly recover from opioid addiction. In the US, governments do not keep thorough track of recovery rates. This might encourage more people to seek help.
Millions of people around the world struggle every day with addiction to opioids, and about half a million people have died in the US alone since 1999 due to an opioid addiction. Getting evidence-based treatment improves outcomes, but only about 10 percent of the global population has access to, and receives, this treatment. Unfortunately, many people do not remain in treatment for numerous reasons.
Relapse is a symptom of all chronic illnesses, including addiction. Returning to treatment helps the ongoing recovery process. With continued help, recovery is possible for opioid addicts.
What Do We Know About The Opioid Crisis
- Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
- Between 8 and 12 percent of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder.6
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.79
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
- Update: Among 38 states with prescription opioid overdose death data, 17 states saw a decline between 2017-2018 none experienced a significant increase.11
- Likelihood of developing an opioid use disorder depends on many factors, including length of time a person is prescribed to take opioids for acute pain, and length of time that people continue taking opioids .
Getting Help For An Opioid Addiction
Written by the Addiction Resource Editorial Staff
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Opioid Overdose
Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Opioid Addiction
Nobody is quite sure why one person becomes addicted to opioids and not another. Typically, opioids produce pain relief, which is good after surgery. However, for some people opioids create a pleasurable effect. For example, caffeine is a reinforcing drug people like the effects.
That is true for about 80 percent of the adult population in U.S. But, some people avoid it because it makes them jittery or anxious. Early in the process of opioid use, people may take it because of the pleasurable effect, and some people actually dont like the effect of an opioid and may go on to avoid them. If you take an opioid and your pain is gone, and you find yourself saying, I feel really good, it may be a warning sign that you are vulnerable to misusing these medications.
Over time that good effect diminishes for people who like how an opioid makes them feel, and many people take more opioids because they hope to get that good feeling, and they also dont want to go through withdrawal.
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Nearly One In Three People Know Someone Addicted To Opioids
The opioid crisis continues to weigh heavily on the minds of Americans, according to a new national poll released today by the American Psychiatric Association, . Nearly a third of Americans say they know someone who is or has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers. Nearly half feel it is extremely or somewhat easy to access opioids for illicit use. Americans strongly favor improving access to treatment over imposing stricter punishments to address the problem.
An estimated 2 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder related to prescription opioid pain medication and the number of overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids doubled from just over 21,000 in 2010 to more than 42,000 in 2016.
More Americans say they know someone who is or has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers compared to this time last year . Nearly half say the opioid crisis is impacting people like them, up from 37 percent in 2017. And nearly one in 10 say they have taken an opioid or prescription painkiller without a prescription. Five percent of U.S. adults say they have abused or been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers, up from 1 percent in 2017, possibly reflecting a greater awareness and willingness to talk about the problem.
Statistics On Addiction Treatment
- In 2017, an estimated 20.7 million people age 12 and older needed treatment for a substance use disorder. Only 4 million people received treatment, or about 19% of those who needed it.1
- In 2017, of the more than 18 million people who needed but did not receive treatment for substance use, only 1 million, or 5.7%, of those people felt they needed treatment.1
- Alcoholics Anonymous has more than 120,000 groups in more than 175 countries around the world, with more than 2 million members.17
- There are over 14,500 specialized substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States providing a variety of care options, including counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and other forms of care.18
- The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. This rate is similar to rates of relapse for other chronic diseases such as hypertension or asthma.19
- Addiction is considered a highly treatable disease, and recovery is attainable. About 10% of American adults who are at least 18 years old say they are in recovery from an alcohol or drug abuse issue.20
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Why Do People Become Addicted To Opioids
Opioids can make your brain and body believe the drug is necessary for survival. As you learn to tolerate the dose youâve been prescribed, you may find that you need even more medication to relieve the pain or achieve well-being, which can lead to dependency. Addiction takes hold of our brains in several ways â and is far more complex and less forgiving than many people realize.
Why Is That One Person Can Become Addicted After Just One Hit Of A Drug While Others Can Take It Or Leave It
According to public health adviser at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Maureen Boyle, âAddiction is a combination of your genetics, neurobiology, and how that interacts with psychosocial and social factors.â
This means that addiction acts a lot like heart disease or type 2 diabetes. It can be treated, but if itâs not treated, it can become a chronic disease that lasts year after year.
Dopamine Plays a Huge Role in AddictionRegardless of who is using a drug, the one thing that they have in common is the way the drug will cause the brain neurotransmitter dopamine to surge. Dopamine is considered the âfeel goodâ chemical in the brain. Itâs found in the reward center of the brain, or the survival center that prompts us to drink water, eat, and have sex in order to survive.
The problem is that drugs cause a better dopamine surge than things like food, water, sex, etc. The drugs cause such a âhappy frenzyâ in the brain, that the brain begins craving that particular drug more than it craves the regular boosting rewards like food.
Obviously, dopamine is a powerful motivator. One definition of the word euphoria is, a false sense of well-being. After all, who doesnt want to feel well?
Avoiding Pain or Seeking Euphoria?Years ago I asked my parents why they often had a drink after coming home from work. I remember clearly my father telling me, It helps me to relax after a long day. I guess he had a lot of long days since he drank almost every day.
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Statistics On Addiction In America
Whether its a problem with alcohol, Opioids, Cocaine, or any other substance, addiction kills thousands of Americans every year and impacts millions of lives. Addiction is a mental disorder which compels someone to repeatedly use substances or engage in behaviors even though they have harmful consequences. Addictions destroy marriages, friendships, and careers and threaten a persons basic health and safety.
- Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.
- Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990.
- From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from overdosing on a drug.
- Alcohol and drug addiction cost the US economy over $600 billion every year.
- In 2017, 34.2 million Americans committed DUI, 21.4 million under the influence of alcohol and 12.8 million under the influence of drugs.
- About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.
- More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old.
- Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to use addictive drugs.