Access to Opioid Treatment

There has been some concern and consternation going back and forth in the United States today about a seriously imposing, a pretty grandiose lack of access to opioid treatment and rehabilitation centers and programs.  There can be no doubt about it, the opiate addiction problem has been pretty serious one, to say the least, and the unfortunate truth behind this has been that, eventually, opiate addiction will become unstoppable if treatment for it is not effected rapidly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), the opiate abuse and addiction issue in the United States:

The opiate addiction problem in the country is now on the level of an actual epidemic.  No other drug addiction problem in the nation has ever advanced any higher than the level of a crisis, so Americans must take heed and caution with the words of warning that this country is under an opiate addiction epidemic.

This bodes ill indeed, and perhaps the key aspect of this problem is just how fast it has worsened and increased.  Few would know it but prior to the turn of the century, the nation’s opiate addiction problem was actually something that was quite manageable and confrontable.  It was a problem no doubt about it, and the 1980s and 1990s saw some of the worst opiate abuse problems there were, but they were all manageable and preventable.  Now the problem is a totally different story.

Between the years of 2001 and 2005, the United States of America experienced a more than three-hundred percent increase in the manufacture, distribution, and proliferation of prescription opiate pain reliever drugs by American pharmaceutical companies out into the American populace.  This was unprecedented.  Now there are enough prescription drugs floating around in the United States to medicate single American adults every single day for four months.  During the same time period heroin trafficking from Mexico increased by two-hundred percent.  In just four years, the United States went from having an average opiate problem to having the worst opiate addiction problem per capita in the entire world.

Why There is Still a Lack of Access to Opioid Treatment

The key factor that really took Americans off guard was the sheer speed with which the United States contracted this opiate addiction epidemic.  Relatively speaking, it almost happened overnight as far as these things go.  It takes a long time to set up inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers and although the demand for these centers is apparent, it’s taken time to build them.

Many wise Americans have seen this need for rehabilitation and many recovered addicts took on the mantle of starting up inpatient centers for combating opiate addiction.  It takes years sometimes to build a rehabilitation facility that can effectively treat opiate addiction though, and the sheer number of opiate addicts in the nation went from one or two million in 2001 to over eight million in 2005.  There are finally more rehabilitation centers and more access to opioid treatment for such individuals, but one rehab center can only treat at most a couple hundred addicts at any one time, and the proliferation of opiates has caused the number of addicts in the nation actually increase annually, not decrease.

How the American Populace Feels About the Lack of Access to Opioid Treatment

Finally, awareness is starting to spread about this issue nationwide.  One survey was done by the Kaiser Family Foundation really set the bar for promoting awareness on the substance abuse issue as it currently occurring in the nation.

From this, it was found that:

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say lack of access to care for people with mental health issues is a major problem, while more than half say the same about the lack of access to care for people struggling with substance abuse.
  • This same survey found that “87 percent of people think lack of access to care for mental health issues is a problem and 73 percent would consider it a major problem.”
  • The same survey again went on to find that, “75 percent of people considered lack of access to substance abuse care is a problem and 58 percent of Americans consider it a major problem.”
  • The survey went on to find that, “35 percent of people named heroin abuse an ‘extremely serious’ health issue, behind the 43 percent who said such about cancer. Thirty-three percent called the lack of access to mental health care an ‘extremely serious’ issue.”

Opiate Addiction Statistics: The Brutal Truth About this Nation’s Most Severe Addiction Crisis

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), opiate addiction and abuse is out of control and spreading fast.

For example:

  • Prescribed medications, and not rampant thefts from pharmacies, account for nearly all overdose incidents caused by prescription pain medications. Opiate addiction statistics show as many as three out of four people abusing prescription drugs obtained them from a friend or family member.
  • An estimated 80 percent of prescription painkillers are prescribed by 20 percent of prescribers. The majority of scripts come from primary care and internal medicine physicians. Very few pain prescriptions originate from physician specialists.
  • Medicaid enrollees receive pain prescriptions at twice the rate of non-Medicaid patients. Results from a Washington state study show Medicaid enrollees accounted for 45 percent of overdose fatalities in the state.
  • While drug overdose rates vary from state to state, the highest rate of overdose fatality incidents occurred in New Mexico and West Virginia in 2008. Opiate addiction statistics rates in these two states were five times more than in Nebraska, the state with the lowest rate.
  • Data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show as many as 4.2 million Americans reported using heroin at least once in their lives. Of this number, an estimated 23 percent become addicted to the drug.

What to Do About the Opiate Problem in the United States

The only truly successful and proven method for besting opiate addiction in the United States is through inpatient rehabilitation.  So, the answer is simple, more rehabilitation centers and more access to opioid treatment.  Already there are thousands of opiate addiction rehabilitation centers and programs, but there needs to be more.  And more.  And more.  It can’t be left only up to the individual entrepreneur to incite others to forward the goals of positive rehabilitation centers.  Rather, the federal government must also take on the responsibility of building such centers.  Opiate abuse presents a very true and very real threat to this nation.  Opiate addiction, once contracted, is almost impossible to get rid of and it spreads like wildfire through peer pressure and other means.

It is of the utmost importance now to address this access to opioid treatment issue more than ever.  No one is in mystery about the problem and no one is any longer deluding themselves with false notions that the problem no longer exists.  If we all work together on this, we can make the opiate addiction epidemic in this nation thing of the past once and for all.

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