Opioid Epidemic History
Opioids are the deadliest drug in America. States are desperate to find solutions that will prevent more overdoses. Finding ways to improve community health and lower the risk of death, STDs, and addiction is difficult. California drug rehab centers are working tirelessly to not only find solutions but to gain a better understanding of the origins of the American opioid epidemic.
Of all the opioids, heroin is the most common street drug being abused. But, most people with an opioid use disorder aren't buying drugs off the street. All they have to do is go to their local pharmacy. This has made prescription opioid abuse one of the most controversial health problems in the United States.
The history of opioid abuse dates back nearly 30 years. Today, pharmaceutical companies are facing multi-million-dollar lawsuits over their failure to disclose the potency and addictive nature of so many of their prized painkillers. But it wasn’t always like this. In the early 80s, these deadly drugs were considered miracle-workers.
The Start of the Opioid Epidemic
In 1991, there was a rapid spike in opioid-related deaths and accidental overdoses. Prescription opioids had become extremely common. Once reserved for the treatment of cancer patients, opioids began being pushed by pharmaceutical manufacturers to medical professionals with the assurance that they were safe and carried low addiction risks.
Because they were so effective, physicians began to prescribe patients these painkillers liberally. By 1999, 86 percent of all opioid prescriptions were used by non-cancer patients. Prescription drugs like Codeine, Demerol, OxyContin, and Percocet were becoming increasingly widespread across the United States. Gradually, more and more people began to administer these drugs to others, creating a black market for highly addictive drugs.
The Second Wave
The death rate for opioids quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. By 2012, the highest overdose age group was 25-34, a figure that startled healthcare professionals and government officials alike. In just a few short years, heroin had become the leading cause of overdose deaths. Between 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose deaths rose by more than 20 percent.
In the United States, more than 700,000 people died from an opioid overdose between 1999 and 2017. California drug rehab centers saw their fair share. Notorious for drug smuggling from Mexico, California saw opioids kill over 2,300 people in 2018 alone.
It had become obvious the prescription drugs once handed out like candy in the ’90s had produced deadly consequences across the nation. The ripple effect of prescriptions and sharing medication had caused more people to develop opioid dependencies. And when prescription medication became scarce, those addicted to opioids began to turn to heroin, meth, and other narcotics.
A Public Health Emergency
In October 2017, President Trump declared opioids a national health emergency. This was after the third wave of the opioid epidemic. The most recent wave arose in 2013 due to the increased use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Synthetic opioid deaths were behind 30 percent of overdose deaths in 2016. Fentanyl use in California has been on the rise for the last five years. Despite the fact California is part of the CDC's 29-state Prevention for States program, people are still dying by the thousands each year.
Lawsuits and Response
States are stepping up and suing the companies responsible for introducing prescription opioids to the masses. One of the most notable cases is the record-breaking Purdue Pharmaceutical lawsuit. The lawsuit resulted in the company paying the state of Oklahoma $270 million for misinformation and misleading marketing practices that contributed to the addiction and deaths of thousands.
The company still faces lawsuits from 35 other states and a federal lawsuit that includes over 1,000 entities. Each accuses Purdue Pharmaceuticals of deliberately withholding important information about the addiction risk factor of OxyContin.
Many state-funded programs have started in hopes of educating the public and increasing access to help. With the rise of fentanyl on the illegal drug market, it's more crucial than ever to inform people about the risks of opioid addiction and the opportunity of recovery.
Rehab for Opioid Addiction
Opioid withdrawal is severe and can be life-threatening. The best California drug rehabs for opioid addiction will first provide supervised, medically assisted detoxification. During this time, the body will lose its dependency on heroin or prescription drugs while your symptoms are managed using a medication like Methadone.
Detox is just the beginning. Afterward, receiving personalized treatment helps you unpack all of the emotional groundwork of your addiction. Vulnerability is the gateway to recovery. By working with professionals and others in recovery, you can start to heal from the past, learn self-compassion and build the skills you need to live drug-free.
Getting clean takes courage. It's scary to face yourself when addiction takes hold. This is especially true when substance abuse makes you feel unrecognizable. You may only be a few months into using, or you may have been taking opioids for years. Regardless of your individual situation, there is a treatment program out there capable of helping you quit for good.
Unfortunately, many people will hit rock bottom before they seek to get better. Some must almost lose their lives before they appreciate it. Regardless of how you got here, focus on where you're going next.
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, contact your nearest hospital or contact one of our professionals at Clear Life Recovery. Reaching out for help is the best choice you can make for yourself today.