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Prescription opioids pose serious threat to US: NDTA report

10-24-17 Category: Addiction

Prescription opioids pose serious threat to US: NDTA report

The opioid epidemic, propelled by the misuse and abuse of controlled prescription drugs (CPDs), heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic painkillers, has been claiming thousands of lives every year in the United States. Though this shift is supported by figures of overdose deaths over the years, the recent findings of the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) revealed that there seems to be no deliverance from the ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S.

The NDTA is a yearly assessment report of the drug scenario in the country, prepared by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The report highlighted how abuse of illicit drugs and drug trafficking by both, domestic and international cartels, need to be looked at from every angle and dealt with as quickly as possible. Thus, prescription opioid abuse continue to pose a serious threat to the nation, the report said.

NDTA findings are ‘an eye opener’

Some of the revelations of the 2017 NDTA report are quite startling. These are as follows:

  • Since 2001, CPDs have caused the largest number of overdose deaths of any class of illicit drugs. The survey found that the abuse has somewhat eased, however, still, more people abuse CPDs compared to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP and MDMA combined.
  • Heroin also remained a drug of concern with rising overdose deaths in the country. An increased mix of heroin with analogs of the highly potent fentanyl and other synthetic opioids made the situation grimmer.
  • Fentanyl is another dreaded drug, the availability of which poses a great threat of overdose. It is often mixed with heroin or cocaine to increase their potency or sold as heroin to unsuspecting customers. With users not knowing the strength of the drug, the chances of accidental overdoses rise significantly.
  • The cocaine threat has resurfaced, due to a record coca crop in Columbia this year. Columbia remains the main source of cocaine in the U.S. Greater availability and accessibility results in higher abuse of the drug.
  • Even the threat from methamphetamine looms large in the nation as there is a greater influx of the drug from Mexico and it continues to surge since 2010, although domestic production has receded.
  • Marijuana production has also spiraled in the country with widespread discussions revolving around it. The report found that demand for concentrated forms of marijuana was high.
  • New psychoactive substances (NPS) and other man-made products continue to haunt the U.S. Traffickers are smart enough to circumvent regulations and come up with new substances.
  • The report also mentioned the Mexican drug cartels, which remain the greatest threat to the nation. They inundate the streets with drugs and ensure seamless distribution, much to the chagrin of the authorities.

Changing landscape of drug abuse in US

While releasing the report, DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson said that the assessment accentuates the magnitude and scope of the current opioid epidemic in the country. Though the report contains data collated over the past year, the real-time data the DEA receives every day from its partners has greater importance. “It has never been a more important time to use all the tools at our disposal to fight this epidemic, and we must remain steadfast in our mission to combat all dangerous drugs of abuse,” he said.

While the opioid crisis has managed to draw substantial attention from the federal government, there seems to be no respite from other drug abuse as well. Despite the fact that President Donald Trump is all set to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, other drugs of abuse like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and NPS also continue to lash the country with equal fervor.

Dealing with addiction

Addiction to any substance is a malady and turns fatal in severe and chronic conditions. However, with treatment, sobriety is possible and one can lead an addiction-free life. Sovereign Health is a leading substance abuse treatment provider in the United States with many evidence-based programs like neurotransmitter therapy and others.

If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction, get in touch with our 24/7 helpline members for a quick resolution. You can chat online with our representatives for further assistance. Whether it is detox treatment centers in California or in your vicinity, help is just a call away.

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