Let’s talk about California and a little place called Trinity County. It is California’s fourth smallest county with approximately 13,628 people. The number of prescriptions filled for opioids, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, was 18,439, the highest rate per capita in California. More prescriptions filled than there are people. 1925 opioid related overdose deaths were recorded last year alone in California, with the rural and semi rural parts of the states exceeding the state average.
There are a few statistics that stand out as the reason for higher amount of opioid prescriptions given. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the following reasons:
- Higher rates of uninsured and Medicaid enrollment
- Larger percentage of non-Hispanic whites
- Higher rate of suicide and unemployment
- More doctors and dentists per capita
- Small town, rural areas
- Areas with larger diagnosed arthritis, diabetes and disabilities
Painkillers used to be prescribed for short term pain but more and more prescriptions are being given for chronic pain. Addiction to those painkillers has led to around 19 million people abusing their pain medications. People are dying on public transportation, passing out in streets and stores, inside restaurants and inside cars, quite often with a baby or young toddler right there watching their parent choke on their vomit and soil themselves. Every day people are turning to heroin and fentanyl, even more deadly, to appease their ongoing addiction. In 2015, more than 33,000 opioid related deaths were reported across the U.S. The United States spends about 36 billion a year on addiction treatment.
It is shown that one of the most effective strategies to prevent you or your loved one from overdosing on opioids is to get into rehabilitation. You can’t do it alone. A trained medical staff, often medications that can reduce cravings, such as buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone,can all aid in getting over the start of rehabilitation. One report found that only 10 percent of the estimated 2.2 million Americans with an addiction to opioid use have received treatment. The death toll will continue to rise if people refuse to get treatment or enable their loved one to continue in their addiction.
Also published on Medium.