Drug overdose deaths in Colorado are now higher than the national average, according to a report from the Colorado Health Institute.
The report, which compiled data from the Centers for Disease Control, states that 899 people died in the state from drug overdose in 2014, an average 16.3 people per 100,000 citizens. The national average for drug-related deaths is 14.7 per 100,000, according to the report.
The numbers have also increased across the state and show no signs of stopping just yet. Colorado’s overdose death rate increased 68% from 2002 to 2014. Every county in the state saw an increase, except for Mineral County. Among the counties, 12 of them, including Denver and mostly rural areas, have the highest rates of drug overdoses.
Image: The Centers for Disease Control http://blogs.cdc.gov/nchs-data-visualization/drug-poisoning-mortality/
What’s Behind the Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths?
The increase in drug overdose deaths in Colorado coincide with the increase of deaths nationally from prescription drugs and heroin. According to the CDC, more than 47,000 Americans died from overdoses to opioid drugs, which is more than any year on record. The CDC also states that about 78 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids, including illicit drugs like heroin and legal pain medications such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Experts say the abuse of opioid prescription drugs often leads to the abuse of heroin because the latter drug is far more cheaper and accessible. Many health professionals say too many physicians are over-prescribing opioid drugs, which is leading to the problem.
“It’s more common than people think and they’re more powerful than people think,” said Rob Valuck, a pharmacy professor at the University of Colorado, to Colorado Public Radio. He says as a nation, the U.S. consumes “between 80 and 90% of the world’s opioids. I don’t think we have 80 to 90% of the world’s pain.”
Treatment is Available
If you’re battling an opioid prescription addiction or an addiction to heroin, you’re not alone and there is help. There are thousands of treatment centers across the United States that specialize in the treatment of your addiction. Visit our Addiction Resources page for a list of centers. You can also call our free and confidential addiction helpline to speak to a real addiction advisor 24/7 at 1-800-259-1361.