Is The Opioid Crisis an Epidemic?

What Is The Opioid Crisis?

The United States opioid crisis is a serious public health and economic problem that is threatening the quality of American’s lives. Families are suffering and good people are dying. It affects every sector of the economy, including healthcare, education and business. No neighborhood, race or class is safe from the opioid crisis. It is not limited to urban backstreets, nor isolated in rural areas. This is an ever growing issue, and has turned into a legitimate epidemic.

Opioids include heroin and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone (hydrocodone), morphine, and Fentanyl. These drugs act by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors at the reward center. This reduces pain and produces feelings of relaxation, and euphoria. We hope you’ll continue reading to learn more.

Understanding The Opioid Crisis

The addiction community’s worst fears were confirmed by the provisional 2020 drug overdose deaths statistics. Overdoses claimed more lives in the United States than any other year in American history, with over 93,00 lives being lost. The opioid crisis in America, has turned into a full blown epidemic.

The number of overdose deaths rose in the first year after the introduction of COVID-19. However, this trend began to taper later in the year. Researchers cited higher drug use, more risky use conditions like isolation under social distancing and along with a drug supply that is far more deadly due to synthetic opioids like Feyntnal. Data from 2020 shows that overdose deaths were highest among those between 25 and 54 years old, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.

Each day, around 170 Americans are killed by overdose involving synthetic opioids. Many of these people were not seeking out illicit fentanyl initially. But due to the fact it’s so easy to make, suppliers are now able to mix it with heroin and other drugs in order to make counterfeit pills that look like prescription opioids.

Synthetic opioids can also be more potent than heroin or other drugs. One to two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to produce the same effects as between 30 and 50 milligrams of heroin.

Some other alarming facts about the opioid epidemic include:

  • About 130 Americans die every day from an Opioid overdose
  • Since 1999, the sale of Opioid Painkillers has skyrocketed by 300%
  • About 20% to 30% of people who take prescription Opioids misuse them
  • About 10% of people who misuse prescription Opioids become addicted to Opioids
  • Approximately 2.1 million Americans have an Opioid use disorder
  • About 5% of people with an Opioid use disorder will try Heroin

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Evidence-based interventions on the ground can make a huge difference and should be implemented in a larger capacity across the United States. Both universal prevention programs and interventions targeted at the most at-risk youth and families not only reduce the likelihood of drug abuse and addiction, but also are proven to have other benefits that strengthen an individual’s mental and physical well-being alike. These medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), such as buprenorphine and methadone, is a safe and effective treatment that has been proven to work when administered with other types of substance abuse recovery methods. However, most Americans who need treatment for an opioid use disorder do not get it.

We recommend that you seek out MAT or IOP programs if you are suffering from opioid addiction. MAT programs provide a more comprehensive, individually tailored program of medication and behavioral therapy that address the needs of most patients. While IOP programs are structured non-residential psychological treatment programs which address mental health disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs) that do not require detoxification through a combination of group-based psychotherapy, individual psychotherapy, family counseling, educational groups, and strategies for encouraging motivation and engagement in treatment.

Types of MAT medication

Opioid Dependence Medications – Buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone are used to treat opioid addiction to short-acting opioids like heroin, morphine and codeine as well as semi-synthetic opioids such oxycodone or hydrocodone.

-Buprenorphine suppresses opioid cravings  

-Methadone reduces opioid cravings, withdrawal, and blocks opioid effects 

-Naltrexone blocks the sedative and euphoric effects of opioids

Opioid Overdose Prevention Medication – Naloxone reverses the toxic effects of overdose and saves lives.

-Naloxone is used to prevent opioid overdose. It reverses the toxic effects caused by overdose. 

Because each medication can affect an individual differently, a treatment provider should decide on the right medication in consultation with the patient and should consider the patient’s unique history and circumstances.

What are the Main Components of IOP Treatment?

Many intensive outpatient programs include group therapy as a main component. IOP participants can improve communication skills, socialize without drugs and alcohol, and learn to discipline and structure themselves.

Additional IOP services include individual counseling and medication management.

The goals of intensive outpatient programs are:

  • Maintaining abstinence
  • Behavior change
  • Participation in support systems like 12-step groups
  • Psychosocial issues like housing, employment, or meeting probation requirements
  • Establishing a support system
  • Improve your problem-solving abilities


If you haven’t lost a family member or friend to drug or alcohol addiction, you likely know someone whose family has suffered such a loss. An ever growing issue such as this epidemic deserves more attention and research as it is only guaranteed to get worse if left untreated, no different than an addiction itself. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction or substance abuse, please contact us today. We are here to help you along the way, and throughout your road to recovery. Carolina Energetics serves the Salisbury, SC area. Contact their office today, or if you are in another part of the US, you can reach out to the following MAT offices:

About Carolina Energetics PC

When you come to Carolina Energetics PC, know that you’re receiving top-rated opioid treatment in a safe environment. We’ve made it our mission to create a compassionate and non-judgmental Suboxone clinic where you can focus on healing when you visit us. Your drug rehabilitation journey is facilitated by professionals who are acquainted with the process, and our goal is to make your experience as comfortable as possible. 

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