The United States has been thrust into an opioid epidemic, affecting the nation’s public health as well as social and economic welfare. While it may be hard to believe, opioid misuse has been around for some time, with overdose death rates quadrupling since 1999. Opioids, which include prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl, killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, with nearly half of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The economic burden of opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, which includes the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, treatment, and criminal justice involvement. (more…)
Since 2013, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida has seen the number of overdoses from both fentanyl and heroin explode. Medical professionals and local officials in the Miami area are searching for ways to help get heroin users into treatment rather than serving jail time. In fact, this effort has caught on nationwide.