Above is the title of a June 2, 2018, article in Time magazine. The article reports on a new study published on June 1st, 2018, by the JAMA Network Open, showing that between 2001 and 2016, the number of opioid-related deaths in the United States increased by 345%.
The Time’s article begins with some sobering statistics, “In 2016, one in 65 deaths in the United States involved opioids — and among younger adults, that number skyrocketed to one in five, according to a new study.” That study, published in JAMA Network Open, and titled “The Burden of Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States” reviewed information on opioid usage and mortality between the years 2001 and 2016.
The numbers are extremely concerning. Between the years 2001 and 2016, the number of opioid-related deaths in the United States increased from 9489 to 42,245 deaths, a 345% increase. This translates into 33.3 deaths per million in 2001, to now 130.7 deaths per million people in the U.S. alone.
The death rate for men is higher than women, with men currently accounting for 67.5% of all opioid-related deaths. The average age of a person who dies of opioid usage is only 40 years of age. In the age group of 24 to 35 years, 20.0% of all deaths in the US were attributable to opioids in 2016. The younger groups have not escaped the problem with 12.4% of all deaths in the ages between 15 to 24 years being attributable to opioids in 2016. If you look at this in terms of years of life lost, opioid-related deaths resulted in 1,681,359 years of life lost in the United States.
Dr. Robert Braile, a chiropractor, author and past president of the International Chiropractors Association gave his perspective on the issue. “There are two issues leading up to our present opiod crisis. The first is that much of the public is unaware that there are viable, proven and safer alternative to drugs such as opioids for those suffering from chronic pain. Chiropractic has helped millions to achieve a better quality of life without the use of medications.”
“The second issue has do do with the messages being continuously delivered to the public via drug advertising,” states Dr Braile. “Almost all drug advertising you see is for continual usage medications. Medications that aim to ‘control’ the problem without ever seeking to fix the underlying cause. This leads to the hopelessness of a society that believe they just have to live with their problems and their only choice is to control the symptoms. This is simply not true. The human body is a wonderful and amazing self-healing organism. We should be focusing more effort into finding things that interfere with that healing ability, as opposed to just treating the effects of ill health.”
In the conclusion of the study the authors wrote, “Premature death from opioid-related causes imposes an enormous and growing public health burden across the United States. The recent increase in the proportion of deaths attributable to opioids among adolescents and young adults and the accompanying estimates of YLL (years of life lost) are alarming, particularly among men. Furthermore, the aging population of people with opioid use disorder requires attention, as the burden of opioid overdose among adults aged 55 to 64 years is growing at a concerning rate.”