Missing Numbers Aren't Missing Lives: Classifying Death By Opioids

Missing Numbers Aren’t Missing Lives: Classifying Death By Opioids

In Addiction, Article by Tree House Recovery

You’ve seen it everywhere – it’s been all over the news, and your friends and family are likely talking about it. Opioid addiction is a major concern within the United States. We’ve heard the statistic from federal survey data that 2.1 million people have experienced a substance use disorder (SUD) relating to opioid prescriptions in 2012, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 78 Americans die each day from opioid overdose. This number has drastically increased, however, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that now 115 Americans die each day from misuse of and addiction to opioids – with this major gap, is opioid addiction bigger than we realized?

According to a new 2018 study, around 70,000 deaths potentially related to opioid addiction have been unreported or misclassified, meaning this epidemic may be worse than we realized. Researchers found 5 states in particular that seemed to be underestimating opioid-related deaths: Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, and Mississippi were all found to have more than 35% of opioid-related deaths listed as “unspecified”. In downplaying the severity of this matter, it’s likely that healthcare professionals and citizens alike overlook preventative measures and follow-ups with the perspective that opioid addiction happens to “other people and not me”.

Since opioid addiction is such a major concern, it’s important to remember the following:
  • Always follow your prescription exactly as prescribed, and tell your doctor if the dose of medication doesn’t seem to fit well with you
  • Schedule regular follow-ups with your doctor to ensure you are both on the same page
  • Keep your medication safely secured and do not give it to others
  • Dispose of your medication safely by marking out information on the bottle, mixing in your medication with dirt or litter, or disposing it at “Take-back” events hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

If you have been struggling with opioid addiction, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to begin your journey to recovery. You may very well save your own life.

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program in Portland, Oregon, offering men a unique way to recover. Inspired by the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and the philosophies of proven recovery techniques, men create sustainable changes in their life, setting up a life without limitations. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474