Lake County, CA (August 27, 2021)
– Approximately every 11 minutes, an American dies from opioid overdose. 91% of those overdoses are accidental: https://nihcm.org/publications/synthetic-opioids-driving-a-worsening-crisis-of-overdose-deaths
Drug overdose is now the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death in the United States. In 2019, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, over 6,000 of those here in California. The leading driver of these deaths (greater than 70%) is opioid drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioids: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29262202/https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/index.html
To help raise community awareness around this topic, Lake County Behavioral Health Services is shining a spotlight on International Overdose Awareness Day. This is a global event which takes place annually on August 31st, to remember those gone too soon from drug overdose deaths.
Individuals who consume prescription opioids, even when following the prescribed dose, may eventually develop a tolerance to the drug. When pain has decreased or gone away, some folks find it easy to stop taking the drug(s). Others find it difficult to quit. Those who find it harder to quit may continue to take opioids longer than necessary; worse, they may develop an opioid use disorder.
People prescribed opioid pain relievers are also at risk of developing an opioid use disorder. Many are unaware their opioid use has become problematic. The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports over half of the people who have misused prescription drugs claimed they got the drugs from relatives or friends. Most people do not know sharing opioids is a felony.https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf
People who take pain relieving drugs in doses too large or for an extended period of time are more at risk of developing an opioid use disorder, and face greater risk of death due to opioid overdose. 9.9 million people over the age of 12 misused prescription drugs in 2019, with 2 million of those having opioid use disorder, per the National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/opioids/prescription-drug-misuse
The good news is opioid use disorders are treatable, and recovery can be achieved with effective treatment. Many people in recovery go on to live healthy, successful lives.
For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-274-9101 or 707-994-7090. If you or someone you know is in urgent need of help, please call our 24-hour crisis line at 800-900-2075.