Did you know that 91 people die every day from opioid abuse in the United States?
From 1999 to 2015, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids quadrupled. Four times as many people die today from abusing Methadone, Heroin, OxyContin and Vicodin – for instance – than in 1999, only 17 years ago.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,980 drug overdose deaths in Michigan in 2015. That was a 13 percent increase over drug overdose deaths in 2014.
What’s going wrong?
That’s what Tom Price and Kellyanne Conway came to Michigan on May 9th to discuss with state officials and addiction advocates.
Tom Price, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, said “The president’s commitment to this is very, very strong and unwavering in his desire to make sure we turn the tide on this remarkable issue.”
That is why the Trump administration has created a commission to study opioid addiction. It should be released later this year.
Prescription Drugs Abuse
One thing we know is that the amount of prescription opioids sold in the US since 1999 has also quadrupled, although Americans report no more pain than before, according to the CDC.
It’s not heroin that kills the majority of opioid abusers. Almost half of the deaths have been caused by prescription painkillers. In addition, studies show that prescription painkillers are often the path to heroin use for many. Here are some more statistics according to the CDC:
Among those who died from prescription opioid overdose between 1999 and 2014:
- Overdose rates were highest among people aged 25 to 54 years.
- Overdose rates were higher among non-Hispanic whites and American Indian or Alaskan Natives, compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
- Men were more likely to die from overdose, but the mortality gap between men and women is closing.
In other words: this isn’t just a minority issue or a poor issue. It is touching people from every race and economic area. A law enforcement response isn’t working, according to law makers.
13 new bills have been introduced in order to stem the tide of opioid addiction and overdose death, as well as one that would put an overdose drug, naloxone, in schools similar to an epi-pen or a defibrillator.
It could end up saving the lives of some of the 168,000 kids aged 12-17 who are addicted to prescription pain relievers – according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
13 Bills Introduced
Additionally, the 13 bills being introduced would:
- Require prescribers to get reports from a new prescription monitoring system before dispensing certain controlled substances
- Require prescribers provide patients with information on dangers and proper disposal before prescribing a controlled substance
- Provide opioid addiction treatment to Medicaid beneficiaries
- Create prescribing limits for opioids
If you or someone you love is addicted to prescription drugs including opioids or heroin, there is hope. The State of Michigan is becoming a place where addiction is treated as a medical issue and not prosecuted as a crime.
Additionally, if you are facing charges for possession, you need to have the advice of a criminal defense attorney right away. Please call my office today. Let’s start fighting for your freedom.