10 Alarming Stats On the Opioid Epidemic

opioid epidemic

The opioid epidemic has had a huge impact in recent years, leading President Trump to officially declare it a national emergency.

Drugs like Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, and Methadone are now some of the most commonly abused drugs in the US.

In this post, we’ll paint a picture of the opioid crisis using ten shocking statistics.

10 Things You Need to Know About the Opioid Epidemic

Want to know what the opioid crisis means for America? Read these 10 fast facts to find out.

1. Opioids Cause more than 47,000 Deaths Every Year

In 2017, over 70,000 people in the US died from drug overdoses.

The majority of those were due to opioids. In total, 67.8% of those deaths involved opioids. This was a huge increase of 45.2% from the previous year.

2. Opioids Contributed to a 0.4% Annual Increase in Death Rate

The rise of the opioid epidemic has also led to a rise in the US death rate.

The life expectancy of Americans has been consistently declining in the last three years. The age-adjusted death rate has increased annually by around 0.4%. Now, it sits at 731.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

3. The US Consumes More Fentanyl than Any Other Country

While opioid consumption is a concern around the world, the problem is undoubtedly far more concentrated and severe in the US.

That’s because more people in the United States use Fentanyl than anywhere else in the world.

In fact, 30% of the world’s consumption of the drug takes place in the US.

Germany consumes a further 20%. However, the rest is spread over a variety of countries, mainly throughout Europe, in amounts not exceeding 6%.

4. A Baby is Born Addicted to Opioids Every 15 Minutes

If mothers abuse opioids during pregnancy, their babies can become dependent on the drugs in utero.

As a result, they then suffer from dangerous withdrawal symptoms after they’re born. This is neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The condition affects 32,000 babies every year, which amounts to one opioid-addicted baby being born every 15 minutes.

5. A Fifth of People Under 30 Know Someone who Abuses Opioids

The opioid crisis may have more impact on your life than you think.

Even if you have never had a problem with opioids, you may know someone who does. A 2017 survey showed that 20% of people under 30 knew people who had an opioid abuse problem. For those aged 31-64, those numbers increased even further.

Of course, these numbers only account for people who are aware of the drug abuse that those around them are struggling with. In reality, the numbers could be much higher. This is because many addicts are adept at hiding their habit from their friends, family, and coworkers.

That’s why it’s so important for people to learn how to spot the signs of opioid abuse in their loved ones.

6. Opioid Prescriptions are Declining

Between 1992 and 2012, the number of prescriptions US doctors gave for opioids increased from 112 million to a whopping 282 million.

Between 2012 and 2016, those numbers fell to 236 million, and since then, they have fallen even further.

7. The Cost of Naloxone has Increased 150-Fold

Naxolone is effectively the antidote for opioids. This crucial drug mostly comes in the form of a nasal spray and can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose almost immediately.

It has the power to prevent and drastically reduce opioid-related deaths, but the costs of the drug can be prohibitive.

The drug was patented in 1961 but taken off patent 24 years later to make it more widely accessible. However, the price has skyrocketed, creating the opposite effect.

Around ten years ago, patients only had to pay $1 for a life-saving dose of naloxone. Now, that very same spray costs $150. In the form of an auto-injector, the price is even higher. This kind of dosage can cost up to $5,000.

This huge price increase makes the drug much more difficult for patients and their loved ones to get.

8. Every Year, 2 Million People Start Abusing Prescription Opioids

Opioid addictions often begin when doctors prescribe these drugs as a form of pain relief.

Patients who have experienced serious injuries or suffer from chronic pain use these drugs to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

However, as well as numbing the pain, they also adjust the brain’s reward system, releasing large amounts of feel-good hormones and endorphins to create a feeling of euphoria. This is what makes them so dangerous.

If patients misuse these drugs, they can form addiction and find themselves on a downward spiral with a habit they can’t keep up with.

The number of patients who misuse opioids in this way is significant. In fact, a 2017 survey on drug use in America showed that 2 million people abused prescription opioids for the first time that year.

9. Opioids Lead to 80% of Heroin Addictions

Those with opioid addictions are 19 times more likely to form an addiction to heroin, too.

In a survey of heroin users, 80% reported starting with opioids before progressing on to heroin.

The strong links between opioid and heroin use are due to more than the similarities in their effects.

Opioids can be incredibly expensive and difficult to get since they’re usually only prescribed by a doctor. When addicts can no longer get access to them, many transition to heroin because it’s a cheaper and more accessible alternative.

10. The Amount of Older Adults Abusing Opioids has Risen by More than 50%

Between 2004 and 2015, there was a surge in the number of adults over the age of 55 seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.

From 2004 to 2013, it steadily rose by 41.2%. However, it rapidly increased by more than double in the following two years.

Get the Help You Need

If the opioid epidemic affects you or someone you know, we can help.

At Coastal Detox, we provide detox and recovery management programs to help patients move forward.

Comfort, support, and serenity are top priorities at our detox facility, where we offer holistic therapies in a soothing environment.

To find out more about our programs, contact us for a consultation.

References

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.