You’re More Likely To Die From An Opioid Overdose Than A Car Accident

You’re More Likely To Die From An Opioid Overdose Than A Car Accident

Your odds of dying from an accidental overdose is 1 in 96.

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For the first time ever, the odds of dying in a car accident are smaller than the chances of overdosing on opioids. The National Safety Council analyzed fatality statistics from 2017 and found that lifetime odds of dying from opioid overdose were greater than death from car accidents, pedestrian accidents, falls, drowning and fires. Sadly, the common misconception for many people is that the opioid crisis won't affect them. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that the overdose rates are increasing across the US and it may only be a matter of time before someone you know is another victim.

Looking at the Numbers

According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, the number of children and teens admitted to hospitals for opioid overdose has nearly doubled since 2004. The study looked at children and teens between the ages of 1-17 who were admitted to intensive care units for opioid-related diagnosis from 2004-2015. Researchers identified 3,647 patients across the country who were admitted for opioid-related incidents. Sadly, almost half of these patients end up in the intensive care unit.

According to the CDC, there were 70,237 overdose deaths that occurred in the US in 2017 - this is 9.6% rise from 2016. Opioid overdoses accounted for almost 70% of these deaths. Statistically significant states with synthetic opioid overdoses include Arizona (increased by 122.2%, North Carolina (increased by 112.9% and Oregon (saw a 90.9% increase). Illegally manufactured fentanyl was a major contributing factor to the number of opioid overdoses in 2017 the largest rate of increase was among 25-44 year-old men.

How Are Lawmakers Fighting This Epidemic?

It can be argued that lawmakers are not doing enough to combat the opioid epidemic. A report by the Washington Post claims Congress has not caught up with the major opioid problem. The report claims in order for this epidemic to be stopped something similar to national effort seen during the AIDS epidemic needs to happen. There needs to be more money granted to opioid addiction prevention campaigns, more funding response, more treatment centers and development of non-addictive painkillers.

The most significant legislation that has come out of Congress seems to be the STOP act of 2018. This bill is aimed at stopping the flow of fentanyl abroad - primarily from China ( a large manufacturer of synthetic fentanyl). It authorizes U.S border control to process shipments and requires that postal shippers include details about the parcel and include names addresses of recipients. Many people across the country still think Congress isn't doing enough to combat this epidemic and new efforts are being implemented by everyday citizens to fight this problem in their own backyard.

The CDC started a program called OPIS (Overdose Prevention in States) that works with 45 states across the US to inform and raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. This program works with communities to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, share statistics with each other, report non-fatal and fatal overdoses more quickly. The sharing of information between local states and surrounding communities allows people to rapidly respond with targeted resources and quickly identify opioid "hot spots." These prescription drug campaigns have had success in decreasing opioid prescriptions and fatalities.

Take Action Into Your Own Hands

Knowing the facts is the first step to addressing this epidemic. Too many young people are dying due to the use of these opioids and prescription painkillers. It's important to work together as a community or with your school to address the crisis and monitor people around you who might be struggling with this addiction. If you know someone struggling with opioid addiction, don't wait for it to be too late -- get them the help they need right away.

Resources For Those Struggling With Addiction:

National Helpline SAMHSA

Opiate Addiction Hotline

Opioid Prevention Resources

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Narcan: An Ethical Dilemma

It's called the "miracle drug," but is it an ethical solution?
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A heroin epidemic has been a huge issue in our nation and only seems to continue getting worse. Adults and teens, of any race, from anywhere, and in any social class or status have been using, overdosing, and dying due to heroin. Stories, pictures, and videos always seem to be circulating the internet talking about someone using heroin or committing crimes in order to get more heroin. Those who are addicted will go through whatever it takes just to get more and fulfill their high. So what’s the solution to such a terrible problem?

As of lately, Narcan, also known as its generic name naloxone, has become more widely available and used to save heroin users from an overdose. Narcan is available as an over-the-counter drug in many states for doctors to refer heroin users to use, and all emergency responders are trained to carry and administer Narcan. But this is where the ethical debates come in.

Those who use heroin will see Narcan as an escape route. They know that if someone is there with them or they are found in an overdosed state, the Narcan injection will help revive them and bring them out of the overdose. Some say that it only takes one overdose for the user to realize how easy it is to go too far and they’ll stop, while many others think it will reverse the situation and enable heroin users to do it even more often as they can rely on the Narcan in events of overdoses. There is no way to force someone to go into rehab or get the actual help they need after being caught and saved from an overdose, so there is no way to make sure it doesn’t keep occurring. Many people also question why someone can be saved from the use of an illegal drug without any consequences. Due to the “Good Samaritan” laws in all 50 states, police cannot typically arrest someone from an illegal drug overdose. Although it is not morally right to just let someone die, it is extremely hard to understand how they can freely go back to doing the same thing and continually be revived from overdoses. Emergency responders are often called back to the same people several days in a row, but there is no way to get them to realize they need more help, so they keep on going with it. Additionally, many users who receive Narcan for an overdose come out of it and are extremely angry because you took away their high and it was a wasted use, as well as often becoming very sick because it snaps them out of the high so quickly that their body immediately goes through a withdrawal. Not all addicts and users who get Narcan for an overdose return to using, as some do realize that there is more to life than drugs, but for many that’s not the case. Ultimately, the biggest underlying issue is getting treatment after the overdose to prevent it from happening again, and Narcan does not contribute to that. It saves someone and lets them go with nothing else to offer but another revival.

The line between saving a life and further enabling an addiction is becoming very thin and blurred. So, although Narcan is a quick solution to a huge problem, is it the most ethical or reliable fix to such a horrible epidemic?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Doing Drugs Isn't Cool, Period

This so-called "cool" epidemic needs to stop, especially in the college atmosphere.

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Adderall, Ritalin, LSD, Ecstasy, Xanax, Valium, Alcohol; the list can go on and on. The point is, they all can be addictive and they all are promoted in college. No matter what university you attend, you will likely come across someone using at least one of these or overhearing a conversation about them.

For you frat party-goers, you are blind. You are risking yourself to eventually use at least one addictive drug. You may think that you'll never get into drugs, but that's what they all say when they're presenting their story to a crowd of millennials while being handcuffed to a chair.

Be honest with yourself.

If you're questioning if something is safe or not, most of the time, it's not. Studies have shown that college students involved in sororities, fraternities, and athletic organizations are at higher risk of abusing dangerous substances. That doesn't mean don't join these clubs, but it's more of a warning to what could happen if you aren't making smart decisions.

It has been reported that 80% of U.S. college students have abused alcohol.

Your weekly Thursday Instagram post captioned "Thirsty Thursday" while holding a White Claw isn't cool. Please ditch the trend of taking pictures in front of a tapestry in the basement of a frat house. I hate to break it to you, but it really doesn't go with your feed, Brittany. Just because it is Thursday, doesn't mean it's an excuse to feed your alcohol addiction and whatever else you may be doing at frat parties.

Attending weekly parties held by frats is increasing your risk of using addictive substances. Picture this: you had a really tough day of classes on Thursday. Your "Thirsty Thursday girls club" group chat just texted you and said they are going to multiple frat parties tonight. They plan on pre-gaming in your dorm room then walking to the frat party nearby.

If that party is lame, they plan on walking to another one down the street. You immediately express how tough your day was and that you're excited for the later hours of the night. You plan your best outfit, do your makeup and hair, and they come over.

You're having fun during the pre-game, so you invite some more people. You now have close to 10 people in your 130-square-foot dorm room. Someone reported a noise complaint to your RA. Your RA knocks on the door and you scatter to hide all the alcohol and be quiet. They say to keep the noise down because someone made a complaint.

After that, it's time to head out.

You're walking, or shall I say stumbling, to the first party. You get stopped by campus police and they write everyone a ticket for being intoxicated in public and underage drinking. You brush it off and still go to the party. You get blacked out drunk and there's a group of guys pestering you to try LSD. They explained it to be "another world".

You buy a single pill and try it. You convince your friends to try it and you all love the feeling of "tripping". You buy more and take it back to your dorm with you.

As you're walking to your dorm, you collapse. A cop happens to ride by and see you on the ground, and they take you to the hospital. You wake up having no idea where you are and your parents standing next to you. You are presented with multiple tickets and now you're being interrogated so the police can figure out who has possession of the drugs.

Approximately 110,000 students between ages 18 and 24 are arrested every year for an alcohol-related violation, such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.

Yes, that may seem extreme, but doing drugs because someone convinced you to is not cool! It can lead to addiction, legal issues, hospitalization, and even death. Don't make decisions based on people's ability to convince you. Although that was a made up story, it happens in real life!

If you're prescribed Adderall for ADHD purposes, use it wisely. Don't tell people you have a prescription. Don't sell it.

My point is, be smart and don't do drugs to seem cool to others or to fit in with the crowd.

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