Opioids are among the most powerful drugs. Powerful in a sense that it has a lot of negative effects to whoever chooses to use it, more so to those who have been addicted to it. The epidemic continues to affect people across the world. In fact, nearly 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose last year, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While prescription painkillers and other street and illicit drugs have certainly fueled the rise in opioid deaths, they are not the only dangerous drugs. Many other drugs, including some seemingly innocuous over-the-counter medications, can be dangerous. The opioid epidemic is on this list of the most serious public health issues facing America today. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More Americans die of drug overdoses than in car accidents, which are also frequently the result of substance abuse – nearly half of fatal car accidents involve alcohol or other substances.
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To better understand the likelihood of Americans dying from using a specific substance, it is important to also get a better understanding of the substance itself – its properties, interactions with other drugs and alcohol, and how often it is used.
The vast majority of people who drink alcohol in the United States – more than half of Americans – do so responsibly. Millions of people also use pain medication every day and do not stray from their prescribed dosage. And while overdoses from prescription opioids are a major factor in the opioid epidemic, opioids are essential to many Americans who rely on them to function.