Opioids: A Worldwide Epidemic

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Throughout the world, half a million deaths each year are attributed to drug use. Of these, more than 70 percent are related to opioid use. More than 30 percent of those deaths are caused by overdose. In 2017 alone, the World Health Organization estimates that 115,000 people died from opioid overdose. Yet, overdoses that do not lead to death are more common than those that do.

Symptoms of Opioid Overdose

A number of signs and symptoms are associated with opioid overdose. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Unconsciousness

Of course, an opioid overdose can also lead to death.

Risk Factors of Opioid Overdose

Several risk factors are associated with opioid overdose. These include:

  • Taking opioids by injection
  • Using opioids again after going for a period of time without (such as following a period of detoxification or being released from incarceration)
  • Using prescription opioids without medical supervision
  • Taking a high prescription of opioids of more than 100 mg of morphine or equivalent
  • Using opioids with alcohol or other substances or medicines that are known to suppress the respiratory function (i.e. barbiturates, anesthetics, benzodiazepines or certain pain medications)
  • Having other medical conditions such as liver disease, lung disease, HIV or a mental health condition
  • Having an opioid disorder

Unfortunately, the number of opioid overdoses has increased around the world in recent years. In the United States, the number of people dying from opioid overdose increased by 120 percent from 2010 to 2018. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about our suboxone treatment program. 

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