America is in the grip of an opioid addiction crisis, which kills over one hundred people every day. Besides the fatalities, the costs in terms of broken homes and communities are incalculable. People who are most affected by the opioid crisis may be asking themselves: how did this happen? And is there a way out? To begin to address the problem, the best place to start is to learn about the dangers of the drugs, how dependence occurs and what is Vicodin, and what steps can be taken for a cure.
The opioid crisis in numbers
In 2017, opioid overdoses were responsible for the deaths of more than 47,000 people in the U.S. This included drugs like heroin, prescription opioids, and fentanyl, which is a powerful and dangerous synthetic opioid. Drug overdoses are now the leading non-natural cause of death in the country. At the present time, more than 130 people are killed every due to drug overdoses. Also in 2017, the total number of people suffering from opioid addiction was estimated to be 1.7 million people.
The economic costs of addiction are as high as $78.5 billion every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes the costs of addiction treatment and healthcare as well as lost productivity and the expenses of the criminal justice system. What the numbers don’t show are the social and personal costs of opioid addiction, which leaves a trail of broken homes and devastated communities.
Understanding the crisis
Over the past twenty-five years, due to changes in government regulations and opioid marketing, the number of prescriptions for opioid drugs used as painkillers, has soared. These drugs however are highly addictive, and it is estimated that anywhere from 21% to 29% of patients abuse them. The abuse of opioid drugs leads to heroin use, with about 80% of heroine users starting out from opioid dependence.
Most people who are affected by the crisis, because they or a family member or friend suffer from an opioid addiction, need to begin with learning the basics. While most people might answer the question what is Vicodin by replying that it is a prescription pain killer, they may not be aware that it contains powerful opioids that can pave the way to an addiction.
The social and personal costs of the opioid addiction crisis are incalculable. Broken homes, scarred children and hollowed communities will be the legacy of this period of history. However, there are some solutions for those affected by the crisis. Understanding what is Vicodin and how prescription painkillers can lead to addiction is the starting point for getting help and treatment.
Federal, state and local governments are responding to the crisis by improving access to treatment and recovery services, especially to overdose-reversing drugs that can be used in an emergency. For individuals and communities, this can be the starting point to recovery. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also focused on longer-term measures like researching better and non-addictive drugs for pain management as well as studies of pain and addiction to find solutions.
The opioid addiction crisis has devastated families and communities across the country. Learning about the problem, its causes, what is Vicodin and how it can lead to addiction, can be the first step in seeking a solution and a cure.