Rockville, Maryland – A new study performed by researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), discovered that  despite the fact that the amount of Americans with disorders and overdose deaths related to the intake of opioid has raised over the years, the number of people receiving treatment for the drug has remained the same.

“The results underscore the importance of addressing the prescription opioid crisis,” said lead author Dr. Beth Han of the SAMHSA, Reuters reported. The findings were published in the journal of the American Medical Association.

Opioids are medications that are prescribed to relieve pain. The compound has the ability to reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Heroin and prescription drug abuse are not limited to any certain demographic or geographic area. We see the negative consequences associated with opioid drug use in urban and suburban areas, rural communities, and inner cities alike. We have, however, seen indications that heroin use is increasing among young adults, which is a serious concern. Credit: White House

The research

Researchers based their investigation on information provided by a survey that included about 472,000 people who claimed to have used opioids for non medical reasons between the years 2004 and 2012. They also evaluated the national statistics on death causes between these years.

The findings suggested that over this period, the intake of opioids in general decreased from 5.4 percent to 4.9 percent. However, they found that the proportion of use disorders increased from 0.6 to 0.9 percent at the same time. They also realized that the number of people reporting opioid use for more than 200 days also raised.

According to the researchers, the new findings might be a hopeful finding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently conceded 16 states a total of $20 million to analyse safe prescribing practices and reduce the availability of prescription opioids, researches stated.

“The increase in use disorders and misuse in the new study suggests more patients are experiencing an inexorable progression from initial opioid use to frequent use.” Dr. Han wrote, as Reuters informed.

Other findings

The study performed by SAMHSA, discovered that deaths from drug overdose involving prescription opioids raised 3.3 percent per 100,000 people, according to National Vital Statistics. On the other hand, they found that the portion of opioid users with a use disorder also increased 4.2 percent between 2003 and 2013.

Researchers claimed that these numbers can be reduced if doctors decrease the prescription of opioid and instead develop new ways and treatments for pain, that can be much safer for patients.

SAMHSA created an Opioid Overdose Prevention, which comes as a toolkit that provides proper guidance on decreasing the risk of death from an overdose.

“It offers ways that medical providers use, so that people who use opioids non medically and others, can recognize the signs of an overdose and effectively reverse it with naloxone (a lifesaving opioid overdose drug).” Dr. Han stated, as Reuters reported.

Source: Reuters