In June, the Washington Post reported
nearly 1.3 million Americans needed hospital
care for opioid-related medical issues in 2014
, the most recent year full statistics are
available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These numbers represent a
99 percent increase in emergency room treatment since 2005.
another study as the state with the highest overdose deaths.
Heroin is only partly to blame; prescription abuse has skyrocketed.
while under the influence of prescription opioids
increased by a factor of seven since
1995. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates
enough opioid painkillers in 2010 to medicate every American continually for a
. Some locations are beginning to struggle with
quiring schools to stock naloxone
while others are bringing
murder charges against
in an attempt to curb the problem.
Fire and EMS departments are on the front lines responding to the increasing num
ber of overdoses. Many responders now carry the drug naloxone –a controversial
choice for some – to save overdose victims. However, while treating an addict’s over-
dose saves lives, naloxone will never be the answer to the opioid problem.