Fighting the opioid epidemic

 

teen opioid deaths graph
Drug overdose death rates for adolescents aged 15–19, by sex: United States, 1999–2015

A new CDC report finds that teen deaths from drug overdoses increased in 2015, after years of decline. The uptick is likely the result of the increasing availability of newer and more lethal kinds of opioids like fentanyl, which is sometimes mixed with heroin.

The report is yet another indication that this growing opioid epidemic is not showing any signs of lessening its deadly grip, and proof that intensive treatment services are needed now more than ever.

“The role of residential treatment services in saving lives cannot be understated,” said Odyssey House President Peter Provet, Ph.D. “In 2016, the number of people who died from a drug-related overdose in America exceeded 59,000. That is not only a shocking number of avoidable deaths it is also a record number for what is being called the worst drug overdose epidemic in American history.”

Expanding our services and increasing access to treatment is at the heart of what our annual “Run for Your Life” event aims to accomplish. All proceeds from the event help us maintain our programs and provide a safe, supportive residential community focusing on drug-free living, family reunification, and educational and vocational training.

“Every day,” Dr. Provet continued, “Odyssey House and other treatment providers are on the front lines of a public health crisis that overwhelms emergency rooms, police services, homeless shelters, and families. Residential treatment centers are helping to push back on this epidemic and stop it from destroying more young lives. But, our ability to do this depends on the resolve to invest in services that combine behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, vocational and educational training, and medical care. Yes, that is a long list, but it is nothing compared to the cost of 59,000 lost lives and the ongoing impact an overdose death has on communities and families.”