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Opioid Statistics Updates

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2019 | Legal Resources

The nation’s growing opioid crisis impacts millions of American lives daily, and while intended to be used for responsible pain management, opioids have led to an addiction epidemic due to their highly-addictive qualities as well as their over-prescription and use. Here, the pharmaceutical liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos provide an overview of the opioid epidemic as well as updated statistics on opioid use.

Why are Opioids Prescribed?

Opioids are medications that trigger the opioid receptors to initiate pain-relieving effects on the body and are prescribed to millions of Americans every year as a method of pain management. While opioids may temporarily mask pain, misuse of these addictive substances can lead to a dangerous reliance on them. Because opioid usage has resulted in one of the most significant drug crises in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Physicians and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have warned health care providers to prescribe opioids carefully and to consider therapies that do not require drugs as an alternative method of pain relief.

What are Common Types of Opioids?

While there are many types of opioids, the most common types include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine and oxycodone. It is important to recognize different types of opioids in order to have an awareness of their potential effects. Also, while these common opioids are generic forms, many specific brands of opioids fall under these categories—for instance, specific types of morphine include Kadian, MS Contin and Morphabond; types of oxycodones include OxyContin and Oxaydo; and types of methadone include Dolophine and Methadose.

What are Important Opioid Statistics to Know?

As the opioid epidemic in America continues to escalate, it is important to understand certain alarming statistics about this class of drugs. For instance, while many doctors prescribe opioids to their patients for pain relief, roughly 21 to 29 percent of these patients misuse them, and roughly eight to 12 percent develop an actual opioid use disorder. In addition, about four to six percent of those who misuse their prescribed opioids transition to using heroin instead. Daily, more than 130 people die as a result of an opioid overdose and more than 1,000 individuals receive emergency treatment for misusing prescription opioids. These statistics do not just affect those directly involved in opioid use; tragic consequences of opioid addiction also include a rising number of newborns experiencing withdrawal symptoms after birth due to the parent’s drug addiction.

What Guidelines are Put in Place to Combat the Opioid Epidemic?

While many organizations are taking steps to combat our nation’s opioid crisis, they are also combating a powerful industry—according to the CDC, prescription opioid use is a 78.5 billion dollar industry. Despite the opioid industry powerhouse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has five main priorities to help combat the opioid crisis: improving access treatments, rehab and recovery services; promoting overdose-reversing drugs; strengthening public knowledge of the epidemic through improved public health surveillance; promoting progressive research on addiction; and striving for advanced pain management practices.

Speak to a Pharmaceutical Liability Attorney at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos

Opioids are both harmful and addictive when misused and their growing use has resulted in a rising epidemic that affects the lives of both individuals with opioid addictions and their loved ones. The pharmaceutical liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos understand the severity of this crisis and have been representing victims of the opioid epidemic for decades. If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction and seeks legal counsel, contact the pharmaceutical liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos for a free consultation today.