Heroin Deaths Have Topped Gun Homicides
If we can leave our friends with any bit of knowledge before the year’s up, it’s this: Don’t Be Afraid To Get Help.
Too many times people think they have control of their habit and, as some troubling new stats have now revealed, that really isn’t the case. According to The Huffington Post, heroin deaths have now surpassed gun homicides in the U.S.
Let’s all reflect upon that for a moment. Think about all of the times you hear about gun violence in the news, now increase that number substantially and you’ll be “close” to America’s fatal overdose statistic.
To put things in perspective, opioid related deaths have quadrupled since 1999. As of last year, they have hit 33,091 annually. Heroin OD’s, in particularly, are rising 23 percent year over year and synthetic opioid deaths increased by 73 percent to 9,580. This is all per The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who released their findings this week.
As we look back on 2016, we honestly believe that the opioid epidemic should have been highlighted as one of the year’s most important stories. Sure we had a presidential election, but in our opinion, THIS IS THE HEADLINE that deserved the most attention. As it stands, more than 20 million Americans suffer from addiction, with 12.5 million battling painkiller dependencies.
Another research team from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation has reported that a third of Americans who took a prescription opioid for two months or longer have become physically addicted. Add to that, several prominent 2016 statements from our Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, and you’ll understand what a crisis this has become.
Throughout the year, we have applauded Dr. Murthy for helping to de-stigmatize addiction; alerting the press and high-level officials to categorize it as a disease and NOT a character flaw.
“For far too long people have thought about addiction as a moral failing,” Murthy explained to HuffPo. “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion and with urgency.”
So where does that leave us today? Well, we do find it encouraging that certain prominent figureheads are speaking out. But the sad fact is that the deaths are still increasing and not enough people are seeking out help. As we mentioned above, the biggest takeaway we hope people can lift from our blogs is about the recovery support systems.
Whether you are struggling with an addiction yourself or are the loved one of a person in need, there is no reason to feel shame or guilt anymore. In 2017 and beyond, we want our audience to know that addiction is a disease and, many times, out of a person’s control. And just like any disease, it can be treated and people who are currently suffering can go on to live healthy and happy lives.
The most important thing to do is reach out. Valley Recovery Center is available around-the-clock for anyone who has been impacted by addiction. We do not want to see this terrible statistic increase. If you or someone you are close to has a problem, call us today at (866) 986-2486.