Analysis of state and national statistics for fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses reveals a shocking threat to Americans, far in excess of what our overdose deaths statistics would indicate.
A January 2023 report published in a La Crosse, Wisconsin newspaper highlighted local law enforcement’s concern that a string of recent fatal drug overdoses in the city may have been linked to opioids laced with xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer that can make the user’s overdose resistant to naloxone (the medication used by responders to revive OD-ing addicts). This report ties in with other reports from local newspapers across the country, plus several broader, nationwide federal warnings that seek to inform Americans of growing risk factors connected to ANY opioid misuse.
A new study has shown that fentanyl is so potent it can stop the user’s breathing and cause death while the user is still conscious. That is different from other opioid overdoses that typically involve the user going unconscious before experiencing halted breathing and cardiac arrest. Such a development means emergency responders and concerned individuals now have even less time to respond to an opioid overdose, thus heightening the risk of death.
Needle exchange programs are one of the more controversial approaches to the drug problem. Safe injection sites even more so. Both methods fall under the category of harm reduction. The goal behind harm reduction is to reduce the harm in drug use.
I’ve always believed the best way to tackle a problem was to first learn as much about the problem as possible. So when one of my closest friends died from an overdose in 2012, I dedicated a good deal of time and my career to learning about the dangerous phenomenon of overdose.
Heroin addiction. The term itself brings out feelings of discomfort, sadness, and heartache. It seems like everywhere we turn there is another story of an individual who died from a heroin overdose—a life lost, a family tormented.
Naloxone. This is the overdose reversal medicine, the injection or nasal spray which can bring an overdosing addict back from the brink of death. Naloxone truly is a miracle of modern medicine, but one might be surprised as to the controversy over the drug.
The U.S. struggles in the grip of an opioid crisis—perhaps the worst addiction epidemic that our nation has ever seen. And in the last few years, a new strain of opioids has entered the scene, creating a surge in the addiction crisis and a resulting spike in the death toll.
Starting in late 2017, the number of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have finally begun to decline after decades of increases. But the reasons why might indicate that we are not actually getting to the root of this problem but only coping better with the symptoms.
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.