The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released the latest figures on opioid abuse in the United States, revealing the astonishing breadth and depth of this problem. Since 2000, the rate of drug overdose fatalities has shot up by 137%. Within this period, overdose deaths related to opioids skyrocketed by 200%. The CDC is now declaring an opioid epidemic and urging public health officials to take action.
The Scope of the Opioid Epidemic in the United States
2014 was the deadliest year for drug overdoses in the United States since officials began tracking such figures. Nearly 500,000 people have died from drug overdoses from 2000 to 2014, with opioid overdose representing a significant proportion of these deaths. In fact, more people now die from drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents.
Both heroin and misuse of prescription painkillers contribute to opioid overdoses. Opioid painkillers are the largest culprits, with deaths relating to these drugs increasing 9% in 2014 alone. Some individuals receive these painkillers from legal prescriptions, while others purchase street versions of the drugs that may be tainted with other chemicals.
In addition to opioid painkillers, heroin continues to represent a serious public health problem in the United States. Heroin overdoses have more than tripled in the past four years despite efforts to make opioid antagonist medications more widely available. Perhaps most alarmingly, there is considerable overlap in use of prescription painkillers and heroin. Abuse of prescription drugs is the largest risk factor for trying heroin, meaning that opioid-related deaths will continue to rise unless immediate action is taken.
Coordinated Action is Needed to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
The federal administration has publicly affirmed the need to combat the opioid epidemic to decrease overdose deaths. However, federal, state, and local officials have largely focused on increasing availability of opioid antagonist drugs. These medications can reverse an overdose as it is happening, making them an important method of fighting against opiate addiction.
However, the focus on opioid antagonists doesn’t address the issue of intervening before an individual has a potentially deadly overdose. This leaves many people struggling with opioid addiction vulnerable during a time in which they most need support. At the Waismann Method Center, we believe that an effective solution to the opioid epidemic will be multi-faceted, including prevention of addiction, increased access to treatment programs, safe and effective detoxification protocols, and tools to reverse overdoses when they occur.
Opioid addiction is a symptom of a larger problem, and we should treat it as such. Individuals turn to prescription painkillers and heroin to cope with ongoing emotional distress. Fighting against the epidemic of opiate abuse will require humane, scientifically supported interventions such as medical detoxification. This helps patients get through the withdrawal process in a safe, humane manner. After detox, patients are then able to receive post-detox care that helps them overcome the emotional issues that perpetuate addiction.
Opiate Addiction Treatment: The Waismann Method
The Waismann Method Medical Group offers a medical solution for patients suffering from opioid dependency. We use the most advanced medical detoxification procedures available to help patients through the opiate detoxification process. Each patient we see receives a personalized treatment plan. This may include anaesthesia-assisted rapid detox or other medical opiate detoxification procedures. These safe, effective, and humane treatments have helped thousands of patients overcome opiate dependency.
The Waismann Method Center is located in Southern California, but we receive patients who travel from around the world for the best opiate detoxification treatment. Rather than expanding our services and potentially diluting the resulting quality of care, we have chosen to focus on our single California location. This allows us to concentrate our efforts to provide the best patient experience possible and to maintain our position as the premier opiate detox providers in the world.
The Waismann Method Medical Group sees patients in a world class, accredited hospital. Our hospital-based detoxification and post-care facility is backed by 21 years of experience, medical expertise and dedicated service to the community.
All figures are from the CDC report: Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths, United States, 2000–2014