Addictive, strong, and inexpensive, opioids, which include opiates and fentanyl, helped cause nearly 841,000 deaths to drug overdoses between 1999 and 2020. While it is easy to dismiss opioid related deaths as another drug related lapse in judgement, opioid addiction can occur from legal, prescribed medication. National Opioid Awareness Day hopes to highlight the dangers of opioids and remove the associated stigma of opioid addiction and opioid overdoses.
Opioids are a highly addictive substance. Medical use of opioids is often left as a final resort due to the addictive nature of such medication and typically only used in the absence of safer alternatives. The opioid epidemic in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is due to the overuse of opioid medications both through medical prescriptions and illegal sources.
Between 1999 and 2020, it is believed that 500,000 drug overdose deaths were caused by opioids. In 2017, 47,600 opioid related deaths were recorded and according to a report from 2017, it is estimated that 130 people in the U.S. die every day from opioid-related drug overdose.
The history of opioids and opioid-related drug overdoses is complicated and often intermingled with legal and legitimate prescription opioid medication addiction. It is important to acknowledge the dangers of such addictions and remove the stigma associated with opioids. September 21 is National Opioid Awareness Day – a perfect time to help in correcting misunderstandings about opioid addiction and opioid-related drug overdoses.
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