The U.S. opioid epidemic has increasingly made headlines, and a new study shows that the focus on opioid use is warranted.
According to a study conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the risk of opioid addiction for an individual between the ages of 18 and 25 increased 37 percent between 2002 and 2014.1 The study, based on the analysis of federal data, also revealed that past-year use increased five percent among the 18-25 age group. Among 26- to 34-year-olds, the risk of addiction increased 13 percent over the same time period. Past-year use among this demographic increased from 2 percent to 12 percent, indicating that there are more active users of opioids in this age group than there were in 2002.
The results of the study validate the concern about opioid use among the recovery community, the government and the media.
Experts point to the overprescribing of legal opioids as a potential cause for the current epidemic. Users of legal opioids, such as Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin, can develop dependence fairly quickly. If an individual finds they are no longer able to legally obtain the opioid, they may turn to illegal drugs such as heroin to get the same high.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2014.2 Half of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. In the same year, more than 10,500 people died from heroin.
Narcan, an antidote for opioid overdoses, has become increasingly available among emergency response units. Although Narcan can prevent opioid-related deaths and give people a chance to pursue recovery, it isn’t designed to get at the root of the opioid epidemic. Instead, government organizations such as the CDC have proposed stricter monitoring of opioid prescriptions as a potential solution.
Pyramid Healthcare provides residential and outpatient treatment, as well as medication-assisted treatment, for those suffering from opioid addiction. We also offer a unique outpatient detox program that enables clients to get sober safely while returning to the comfort of their own homes following treatment. To get help today, call (888) 694-9996.
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