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Opioid Admissions Rise While Alcohol Admissions Drop

Opioid Admissions Rise While Alcohol Admissions Drop

As the opioid addiction epidemic continues to spread around the country, more and more people are going to rehab to overcome their addiction. Now, rehabs are seeing more cases of prescription drug abuse and heroin use than alcoholism.

A recent SAMHSA report based on the 2013 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) shows notable changes in substance abuse treatment admissions over the past decade. While alcohol-related admissions have dropped, opioid related admissions have gone up both from prescription painkillers and heroin.

The numbers have shown a dramatic shift and reveal just how severe the prescription pain killer epidemic has gotten. The amount of admissions based on non-heroin opioid use has tripled in admissions rising from 3% to 8%.

Although alcohol-use disorder still makes up the largest percentage of admissions, the number has dropped from 42% in 2003 to 38% in 2013. During the same period, heroin use rose from 15% to 19%. Marijuana related admissions went up slightly from 16% to 17% and methamphetamine-related admissions increased from 6% to 9%.

As a result, the federal government is making an effort to address opioid abuse across the country. All drug use is a major concern. It is important to note that 55% of treatment admissions in 2013 involved more than one substance of abuse.

Furthermore, SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto believes the focus should still remain on treatment and not the specific drug used.

“Whether people are struggling with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances, seeking help is a critical step toward achieving recovery,” Enomoto said. “Time and again, research has demonstrated that treatment helps people with substance use disorders to regain their lives. As with other life-threatening conditions, this step can be the difference between life and death. We need to encourage people to seek help. Treatment works. People recover.”

Unfortunately, opioid painkillers are often use for nonmedical use by patients or friends, or sold on the street. A 2012 survey revealed that over five person of the U.S. population aged 12 years or older used opioid pain relievers nomadically. The health consequences are broad and result in a number of risk like overdoses.

Prescription Opioids and Heroin Abuse

As we have mentioned in the past, the recent trend of prescription opioids have led to a rise in heroin use seen in various communities. Prescription opioids

Growing evidence reveals that abusers of prescription opioids are shifting to heroin as prescription drugs become less available or harder to abuse. For example, a recent increase in heroin use demonstrates how the increasing difficulty in obtaining these medications illegally may cause some users to transition to abuse of heroin, which is cheaper and in some communities easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

Heroin abuse is dangerous because of the drug’s addictiveness and high risk for abuse. Also, there is a high risk for contamination since the drug is illegally obtained off of the street. Recent trends have contained fentanyl, a very potent prescription opioid that has increased the risk for overdosing significantly.

Treatment of Opioid Addiction

As far as treatment options, insurance will cover treatment for many when it comes to going to a treatment facility to overcome addiction to opioids. Several options are available to help aid with withdrawals and increase the chance of recovery. This includes medication as well as behavioral counseling approaches. Recently, the two drugs for commonly treating opioid addiction are naloxone and buprenorphine, however these drugs still carry the risk for abuse.

Overall, alcohol still remains a drug of immense popularity due to its easily accessibility and affordability. Still, the prescription painkiller epidemic is a huge issue and areas such as the overprescribing of medication needs to be heavily addressed further.  

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