Opioid Overdose Crisis in Arizona
The opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation at an alarming rate. What is particularly troublesome is the indiscriminate nature of the epidemic. It affects all ages, races, demographics, and professions. No one can declare himself or herself safe from the threat of the opioid crisis because it can pop up anywhere or affect anyone at any time. Along with the epidemic come inevitable overdoses. As communities struggle to get a grip on the epidemic itself, they simultaneously struggle with the reality of increased overdoses. Nowhere is this truer than in Arizona. As opioids continue to be a problem the increase is leading experts to call this an opioid overdose crisis in Arizona.
What are Opioids?
It may be useful to first define what an opioid is and become familiar with basic facts and ways to use opioids. According to Wikipedia, an opioid is a substance that produces a morphine-like effect. Opioids can have analgesic effects and depress the central nervous system. Opioids are primarily used to relieve severe pain and can include certain types of anesthesia. However, opioid use can quickly spiral from use in a medicinal capacity to use in a non-medical/recreational capacity to produce euphoric effects or prevent withdrawal. According to WebMD, the most popular types of opioids are:
When referring to street use of opioids, heroin is the first narcotic that springs to mind; heroin is a derivative of morphine and is the opioid most commonly abused by injection. The chemical name for heroin is diacetylmorphine. Street names for heroin include:
- China white
Types of Opioid Use
- Intranasal – “snorting” or “sniffing”
- Intravenous – typically done with a needle; this is commonly referred to as “shooting up”
- Subcutaneous use – “skin-popping”
Opioid Use and Abuse
When opioid use turns into a problem, it is what’s known as Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Signs of this disorder include misuse of prescribed opioid medications, use of diverted opioid medications, or use of illicitly obtained heroin. OUD is typically a chronic, relapsing illness, associated with significantly increased rates of death
In patients with OUD who have achieved abstinence through medically supervised withdrawal or by other means, maintenance treatment aims to prevent relapse. Options for long-term maintenance treatment include methadone or naltrexone.
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Symptoms and Consequences of OUD
Patients who are acutely intoxicated can have slurred speech, nod off and have pinpoint pupils. For patients who are injecting, fresh injection sites may be visible. Patients who have a high tolerance to opioids may not show any effects, but if they are hospitalized for other reasons, they may show signs of withdrawal. Other signs of opioid use disorder include impaired social functioning or even engagement in illegal behavior—shoplifting or prostitution–to obtain money with which to purchase opioids. OUD can have many health consequences, most notable being certain types of infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, cellulitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
National Numbers on Opioid Overdose
The national numbers on overdoses that involve an opioid are troublesome, to say the least. According to the CDC, there were 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 and 68 percent involving opioids; this number is 6 times higher than it was in1999. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Opioid Overdose Deaths in Arizona
If you narrow the scope of opioid overdoses by state, since 2013, opioid deaths rose 76 percent in Arizona. By 2017, this adds up to a total of 928 reported deaths. The most noticeable increase occurred among deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone. This number increased sevenfold: from 36 deaths in 2012 to 267 deaths in 2017. Within the same time frame—2012-2017–heroin overdoses increased to 334 deaths. In simpler terms, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are at least two people dying from opioid overdoses every day in Arizona. The situation is so dire that in 2017, Governor Ducey declared a state of emergency to install a number of practices aimed at preventing and reducing opioid deaths in his state. One such measure is to equip local law enforcement agencies with naloxone kits; over 20,000 have been given out so far.
Asking for Help for Opioid Addiction Treatment in Arizona
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, or any other type of addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out. At Soul Surgery Rehab, we are ready and waiting to help. We proudly help our patients tackle a host of problems and are always willing to tailor a program that’s specific to the individual’s needs. We also treat sleep disorders and mental health issues. Simply give us a call or fill out our form online. Though we are Arizona’s top luxury rehab center, we will proudly work with patients from all over the nation.
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