Sadly – the drug addiction crisis in America continues to roar ahead – seemingly unabated.
In data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, bleak new estimates put the number of drug overdose deaths in 2017 at 72,000.
That number is not a typo.
The Vietnam War (1961-1975) took 58,209 U.S. lives.
Think about that. We are now losing more lives each year to drug overdoses than we did as a nation in 15 years of active combat in Vietnam.
We lost 33,739 American lives during the Korean War in the 1950s.
One has to go back to WW II to find an armed conflict that took more American lives. But even then – the number lost each year of the war is dwarfed by the number of those lost annually to drugs in America now.
So, what’s happening? Why the continuing rise in deaths?
A large government survey of the U.S population suggests that as many as four million Americans are currently addicted to opioids.
And what’s changing is the nature of the drugs available.
Strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl have become mixed into drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and the class of anti-anxiety medicines known as benzodiazepines.
And these deadly combinations are overwhelming even the most experienced drug users.
Is there anything to give us hope?
The rate of opioid prescribing by U.S. physicians (a primary driver in this epidemic of death) has finally begun to fall. And more resources have become available from the federal government to help expand addiction treatment options.
And there are early signs that the death rate from drug overdoses may finally be leveling off. Sadly, a leveling off at 60,000 to 70,000 deaths a year is still a national tragedy.
In the end – effective treatment of the disease of addiction may be our nation’s best hope.
If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Connecticut, New Hampshire or southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is giving clients a 6X better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com.