How Has the Opioid Epidemic Affected Connecticut?
Opioids are a devastating problem all throughout the United States and in Connecticut. In 2017 there were 955 overdose deaths involving opioids, which was a rate of 27.7 deaths per 100,000 persons, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused the greatest increase in deaths. Overdose deaths involving heroin also increased, along with prescription opioid-related deaths. However, the rate at which prescription opioids were being prescribed was lower than the national average in 2017. During that year, Connecticut providers wrote 48 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. Moreover, the rate of prescription opioid deaths has not followed this trend. From 2012 to 2017 it was an increase of 1.6 deaths to 7.7 deaths per 100,000 persons because of prescription opioids.
It is estimated that on average two people die every day in Connecticut because of a drug overdose. More people die in the state because of drug overdose than because of car crashes and gunshot wounds. Between 2012 and 2015 there were 2000 drug overdose deaths in the state, with most connected to opioids. Lawmakers in the state have passed bills in response to the crisis. These new laws created a prescription database and provide more training for health and public safety officials. Opioids are dangerous drugs to become addicted to, and too many addicts do not get the treatment they need. When you become addicted to opioids, you require lengthy treatment, such as medical detox and inpatient rehab. This is best way to treat opioid addiction, but most addicts refuse help.
One of the reasons why an addict refuses help is because of the fear of withdrawal, and the withdrawal pain attached to the addiction. Long-term use of opioids results in a tolerance developing. This tolerance creates an intense dependency that must be met with more opioids. The longer someone is taking these drugs, the more difficult it is to stop taking them, which then requires medical detox. A medically supervised detox is the safest way for an opioid addict to stop taking the drugs they are abusing.