A new Pew Research Center poll shows that large numbers of Americans see drug addiction as a major problem in their community and that nearly all Americans from all walks of life see it as at least a minor problem where they live.
Opioid Epidemic Brings Attention to Problems of Addiction
As an opioid overdose epidemic has taken thousands of lives each year for the past few years, drug addiction has come to the attention of more and more Americans, many of whom have begun to see its effects on their friends, co-workers, and loved ones.
Across all major areas–rural, urban, and suburban–80 to 90 percent of the people surveyed said they thought drugs were a problem. While the rate was lower for suburban areas, with only 35 percent saying they thought it was a major problem there, 80 percent still thought it was a problem. The numbers across socioeconomic and racial groups were also remarkably similar.
More than 63,000 Americans died in 2016 from overdoses, and 2017’s numbers may be even higher when final calculations are available. The rate is nearly twice the level of a decade ago when closer to 35,000 succumbed to death from drug overdose. Much of the increase is fueled by spiking numbers of opioid overdoses, which now account for about two-thirds of all drug overdoses.
While some drug overdoses are not due to addiction and merely result from using drugs together that cause an interaction or mistakenly taking too much of the drug, that is not the case for the vast majority of the overdoses, which result from intentional misuse of the drug because of addiction.
How Colorado Measures Up
Colorado’s rate of overdose deaths in 2016, 9.5 per 100,000, was significantly lower than the national rate of 13.3 per 100,000, even though the state did see small increases year-over-year between 2012 and 2016. One reason that Colorado may not be seeing the numbers of the country as a whole is that the rate of opioid prescriptions given out began to decline in 2013, which at least helped slow the growth of opioid overdoses a little more than in other areas of the country.
Somewhat predictably, the rate of overdoses from heroin and fentanyl have risen more in Colorado in the years since opioid prescriptions have dropped as some turn to illegal street drugs to feed their addiction when they can no longer get opioids legally.
Colorado has passed new laws that aim to help lower overdoses even more, including new guidelines for prescribing opioids, more money for treatment, and other measures designed to encourage people to train as addictions counselors and work in the state. While Colorado’s overdose rate may be rising more slowly than many other states, legislators want to see the trend reverse and the number of overdoses begin to fall again.
Getting treatment is one way an individual can influence Colorado drug trends and avoid becoming an overdose statistic. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is one source of addiction treatment resources in Colorado that seek to stop opioid overdoses and save lives. Contact us today to explore treatment options.