The opioid epidemic in the U.S. continues to worsen. In fact, drug-related incidents are currently the leading cause of unintentional death in the country, claiming more lives each year than motor vehicle accidents or firearms.
The alarming increase in opioid-related deaths in recent years has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to label this wave of overdoses as an epidemic with comparable significance to cancer. Indeed, opioid addiction functions much like a cancer in that it quietly invades our communities and metastasizes. And like a cancer, no one is immune.
The Opioid Epidemic by State
Some of the hardest-hit areas of the country are short on intervention infrastructure. The lack of affordable, quality care is most apparent in the southeastern United States, as well as the Great Plains states. Let’s take a look at some of the most affected areas:
- Alabama – In the state of Alabama, there were more opioid prescriptions than there were residents in 2012, a higher number than any other state.
- Arkansas – In 2012, Arkansas was among the top 10 states for opioid prescriptions, with 116 opioid prescriptions per 100 people.
- Florida – Florida ranks 11th in the country when it comes to drug-overdose deaths. The vast majority of those overdoses are related to prescription opioids.
- Georgia – In 2014 alone, more than 1,200 people died of drug overdoses. Prescription opioids and heroin were implicated in the majority of these deaths.
- North Carolina – In a survey of the top 20 cities for opioid abuse, four cities in North Carolina made the list.
- Kentucky – Nearly half of all people who enter substance-abuse treatment in Kentucky do
so for opioids.
- Missouri – Between 2005 and 2015, the number of emergency room and inpatient care visits related to opioids increased 137%.
- Ohio – In 2015, opioids accounted for 667 overdose deaths.
- Oklahoma – Of the top five medications responsible for overdose deaths in Oklahoma between 2007 and 2011, four were opioids.
- Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania has the 8th highest number of overdose deaths in the country. The vast majority of these are due to heroin and prescription opioids.
- Maryland – In 2015, there were 1,259 overdose deaths in the state, and 86% of these involved an opioid.
- North Dakota – Opioid-related fatalities increased 125% throughout the state in just one year.
The Importance of Affordable Care
The latest research suggests that treatment programs for Medicaid enrollees – some of our nation’s poorest citizens – are virtually nonexistent throughout the majority of the country. Compound that with the fact that Medicaid recipients are twice as likely to be prescribed an opioid for pain and a problematic pattern becomes clear. In fact, Medicaid patients are six times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general population. This illustrates a systemic failure to protect some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Even those who have insurance can have difficulty accessing quality care. This was most evident in the southeastern United States, as well as in places like Idaho, the Dakotas, and Nebraska. Despite these gaps in care, multidisciplinary treatment is vital, giving those who struggle with addiction their best chance at recovery.
What Can We Do About It?
One of the major forces driving the opioid epidemic across the country is inconsistent access to care. As are result, the best option for many individuals is to seek out-of-state treatment. Areas that offer the best options with regard to opioid treatment centers include the state of California, and the metropolitan areas of Chicago and Detroit.
Need help selecting a treatment center or getting a family member to commit to recovery? You can count on Family First Intervention to guide you and your family through this trying time. We travel directly to you and will educate your household on how to stop enabling your loved ones who struggle with addiction. We can then work with you to find a facility that meets your loved one’s needs and budget. Reach out to us today if you have more questions about planning an intervention.