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Heroin and synthetic opioids responsible for surge in drug overdose deaths in US after 2010, says study

Heroin and synthetic opioids responsible for surge in drug overdose deaths in US after 2010, says study

Drug cartels are exploiting the rising opioid addiction in the U.S. to their advantage by flooding narcotic markets nationwide with low-cost and highly potent heroin from Mexico, according to a new study published by the American Action Forum. Approximately three out of four new heroin users have abused prescription opioids prior to using the illegal drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts attribute the chemically identical structures and similar euphoric effects of the two drugs to the transition from non-medical use of painkillers to heroin.

Citing official data and various surveys, the study indicates that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids grew by leaps and bounds during the 2013-2016 period – 84.2 percent each year. After increasing at an yearly rate of 14.3 percent during 1999 to 2010, the amount of opioids being prescribed started to decline by 4.3 percent per year with a corresponding decrease in yearly rates of fatal opioid overdoses from 13.4 percent before 2010 to just 4.8 percent thereafter. However, after 2010, the study blames heroin and synthetic opioids to be the main drivers of overdose deaths nationwide.

The study shows that easy access to prescription opioids in recent years led to a complete dependency on the pills in users. But with changes in government policies aimed at curbing the abuse of opioids by mandating stringent laws that prevented easy access, the focus now shifted to cheap heroin from across the border. Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) have actively engaged in the manufacture, transportation, and distribution of illicit and lethal substances, such as heroin and fentanyl, which former opioid users can avail following difficulties in laying their hands on legal prescription opioids.

Americans living in pain

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), many countrymen battle intensely painful conditions each year, which has led to a sharp spike in health care and rehabilitation costs and a significant decline in overall productivity. The need of the hour is to acknowledge the presence of a chronic pain problem across the nation because pills that were once considered as lifesavers are actually turning out to be life wreckers. Studies show that an alarming six out of 10 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involve the abuse of a prescription opioid. According to the CDC, from 2000 to 2016, more than 600,000 people died from opioid overdoses.

Sold under the brand name Ultram, tramadol is an opioid drug used to treat painful conditions, including chronic osteoporosis. Experts say most people addicted to tramadol are the ones who initially use it to get relief from severe pain, but depending on the frequency of use, get addicted to it. With growing number of cases of tramadol abuse being reported from different parts of the country, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2014 made tramadol a Schedule IV drug, along with Xanax, Soma, Valium, Ativan, Darvon, Darvocet, Talwin and Ambien.

Tramadol addiction is treatable

Opioid painkillers like tramadol, capable of affecting the physical and emotional health of users, can also leave an adverse impact on the overall quality of life, in terms of interpersonal relationships, finances and social standing in the society. However, timely medical intervention can reverse most of the negative outcomes.

Sovereign Health is the leading substance abuse and behavioral health treatment provider in the U.S. We provide comprehensive tramadol addiction treatment programs for those willing to again lead a normal and sober life. We offer holistic opioid addiction treatment to patients in a safe and conducive environment. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 683-9756 or chat online with our trained recovery expert for further information on our evidence-based treatment for tramadol addiction.