INFORMATION ON U.S. STATES
What if Car Crashes Increased at the Same Rate as Drug Overdoses? What Would Public Reaction Be Then?
While drug overdose deaths climbed from 16,800 to more than 70,000 over a 20 year period, was America’s response appropriately strong and determined? If not, why not?
The headlines in U.S. News last week read, “Americans Spent $146 Billion on Illegal Drugs in 2016.” That’s a shocking figure. It’s a figure that drives home just how enormous our country’s drug problem is. But at the same time, a figure like that creates a lot of questions.
Drug addiction and alcohol misuse are human problems. By that I mean, this crippling crisis can befall anyone. No one is immune to the threat of addiction. No amount of money or social status can protect someone from the risk of addiction.
Dying is just a part of the life cycle. But the circumstances under which people die can be significant, especially when avoidable. Death rates from drugs, alcohol, and suicide are at all-time highs. These death rates are higher than they ever have been since recording for such deaths began in 1999.
It is safe to say that treating oral pain problems is something that dentists often have to do. But how they go about treating such symptoms is another matter entirely.
According to the Treatment Episode Data Set Report (a research project done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), about 50 percent of treatment center admissions in rural America are for alcohol.
Hearing about the effects of our country’s drug addiction epidemic is difficult. It's never a pleasant subject to talk about. But, when we hear about drug addiction or alcoholism occurring in young people, that particular crisis carries with it an extra pang of sadness.
Arkansas recently made national news when the state’s attorney general sued three major drug distributors for their alleged role in creating and adding to the opioid addiction epidemic. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge claimed that Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, and AmerisourceBergen failed to monitor and report highly suspicious shipments of opioids into Arkansas.
As concerned as I am about the 19.7 million people in our country who struggle with addiction, I keep my ear close to the ground on all issues drug-related. So when I saw a report from last year in the Golden State Sentinel that presented one representative’s efforts to change opioid pharmaceutical prescribing, I was instantly interested.
If we focus too closely on the opioid epidemic, we could miss the growing problem with abuse of stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine, and prescription drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall and others. Just like opioids, these drugs can be deadly.