More evidence that the opioid epidemic is only getting worse

The opioid epidemic only gets worse.

Approximately 71,568 predicted deaths from drug overdoses were reported for the 12 months to January period, a jump of 67,114 predicted drug deaths in January 2017, according to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are even more suspected deaths, which are still being investigated.

The predicted number of deaths from drug overdoses increased by 33% in Nebraska and by 24% in New Jersey during the same period. Nebraska had the largest increase, but it is also one of the states with the smaller number of drug overdoses: only 152 reported deaths occurred during the period from 12 months to January in that state, compared with 2,585 in North Carolina.

Twelve states have seen a year-on-year decline in deaths from overdoses, most of which are located in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. Wyoming saw the largest drop, with 33% for the 12 months to January, and has one of the few numbers predicted at 61 for the 12 months to January, a decrease of 91 for the same period in 2017.

White Americans seem to be at the greatest risk of death from opioids, according to a study published last year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The increase in the number of lethal overdoses with drugs is almost entirely responsible for the increase in the mortality rate for white, non-Hispanic people aged 22 to 56 in recent years.

The increase in lethal overdoses of drugs is almost entirely responsible for the growth in mortality rates for white, non-Hispanic people aged between 22 and 56 in recent years, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine .

Mortality rates for that population increased by 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people between 1999 and 2015, the study found. If the mortality rates of the drug had remained at the 1999 level, the mortality rates for men in that population would have dropped significantly and only slightly increased for women.

Recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that recent increases in deaths from overdose "are caused by persistent sharp increases in deaths involving other synthetic opioids than methadone, such as illegally manufactured fentanyl."

And all races have shown an increase in opioid-related deaths, the CDC found. "No part of the United States is exempt from this epidemic – we all know a friend, family member or loved one destroyed by opioids," said CDC chief executive director Anne Schuchat in a statement.

From 2015 to 2016, opioid-related deaths increased between men, women, people over the age of 15, whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asian / Pacific islanders, according to the CDC. "The largest relative speed change occurred among blacks (56.1%)," it added.

Of the estimated 50,000 Americans who died from a drug overdose in 2015, 63% related to opioids. That same year, more than 33,000 Americans died of drug overdoses with opioids, according to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency that is part of the Executive Office of the President. That is more than quadrupling the number of deaths from overdose with opioids in 1999, according to the CDC.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic "an emergency public health". It has destroyed some communities across the country. But it is not only the killing of people who have become addicted to these powerful painkillers, it also takes a financial toll.

Some of the areas that see the most overdose deaths are Southwest and Northeast Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, West West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Some estimates bring the national cost to $ 500 billion

The economic costs of the opioid crisis in 2015 were $ 504 billion, much higher than previous estimates, according to a report from the Council of Economic advisors (CEA).

When taking medical expenses, criminal costs and lost productivity, the opioid epidemic costs Americans billions of dollars a year. "No one has seen anything like what's going on now," Trump said in a speech in October. "As Americans we can not allow this to continue, it's time to free our communities from this plague of drug addiction."

Opioids kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. They include prescribed pills (including Vicodin and Oxycontin), as well as heroin and fentanyl, a medication that can be injected or taken through a patch or as a lozenge.

One city is looking for a refund. Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, said the city is looking for about $ 500 million in a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids to recoup some of the costs suffered by New York as a result of opioid abuse.

Opioids have put the city under financial pressure, increasing the use of medical treatment services, hospital services for inpatient patients, costs for medical examiners, costs of criminal and law enforcement costs, according to municipal officials. These costs included approximately 45,000 visits to emergency departments for opioid patients in 2017 and the delivery of naloxone, an antidote for overdoses.

An analysis by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, published in the journal Medical Care in 2016, estimated the costs of treating overdoses, abuse and dependence of only prescription opiates in American society around 78.5 billion dollars a year.

It broke data from 2013, when about 2 million Americans met the criteria for opioid abuse and dependence, and about 16,000 died of overdose opioid prescription. To put that figure in context, the US spent $ 79.9 billion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the same year, the researchers said.

But the new analysis by CEA is higher because it goes beyond "conventional methods" to take into account the value of lost lives, according to the authors of the report. Moreover, the opioid crisis has deteriorated since the previous studies and more deaths have occurred.

Even before the analysis of the CEA, the estimated costs of the crisis were enormous. Patients with untreated opioid use disorders tend to spend $ 18,000 more on health care costs each year than those without such a disorder, according to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits.


One study conducted by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston showed that the average cost of treating an opioid overdose victim in intensive care units increased by 58% between 2009 and 2015. persists, patients are in a worse condition and need a longer stay. In 2015, the average costs of 162 academic hospitals were $ 92,400 per patient in the intensive care unit.

Criminal justice

The US spent almost $ 8 billion on criminal costs as a result of the sale and consumption of opioids, which was almost entirely a price for state and local authorities, according to the 2015 National Center for Injury Prevention and control study published in the journal Medical Care. Worse still, the recidivism rate for drug addicts is around 45% within three years after the release of the prison.


The cost of lost productivity is about $ 20 billion, according to the 2015 study. Approximately seven out of ten employers have experienced an effect of using prescription drugs when their employees, including absenteeism or reduced work performance, according to the National Safety Council, a non-profit organization in Illinois. And fatal overdoses cost nearly $ 22 billion in health care and lose productivity costs.

Invisible costs

Of course, these are only the costs that researchers can actually measure, said Curtis Florence, one of the authors of the study published in Medical Care. It does not even affect the impact on the quality of life or the pain of those affected. As Trump said on Thursday, "No part of our society, not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural, has been spared from this plague of drug addiction."

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