I’d like to invite our readers to consider an interesting and concerning truism in addiction science. We can all agree that any kind of drug use is dangerous. Any sort of alcohol misuse is dangerous. These are the facts. But there is this interesting, unique, and crucial datum that we don’t give enough recognition to.
I saw a headline yesterday that read “City with the Most Per Capita Overdose Deaths in the Nation Begins to Recover.” It caught my eye.
In August of 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse published the CDC’s statistics for American drug overdose deaths for 2017. According to the research, more than seventy-two thousand people died from drug overdoses in 2017 alone, a new highest-ever in overdose deaths.
If there is one thing that we can be absolutely certain of when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction in the United States, it is that we are far worse off with this problem than we were twenty years ago.
There’s been a significant climb in drug overdoses amongst people under the age of eighteen. This has cropped up just in the last few years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided preliminary numbers for deaths from drug overdose in 2017. Rather than showing improvement, they reveal that we have not yet capped our losses from overdose deaths.
As is the nature of human beings, we don’t like to dwell on the grim truth that is the hardships of our fellows and the struggles that so many Americans face. But we have to look at these issues. We have to sit side-by-side and face them, for only in facing them will we ever actually reduce them.
It can take years for a family to realize that all the problems they are seeing in a loved one’s life add up to addiction. Even when they do know, they often don’t realize the incredible risks their loved one takes each day by injecting uncontrolled illicit drugs.
The CDC maintains a running tally of the number of lives lost to drug overdoses in the United States. The last few months, a chart of these numbers is nearly flat, showing a pause in the rampant increases of prior months. Why isn’t this totally fabulous news?
This a vitally important question to ask. Just talk to any parent who has lost a child to an overdose. A recent report from the CDC indicates that as yet, we are seeing more wreckage resulting from drug addiction, not less, meaning we have much more work to do.