While education on both illegal and legal drug abuse improves, each year the total number of deaths related to drug abuse also increases. According to Vox Media (in the video below), in 2015, 52,000 Americans died from drug abuse. The New York Times reported that in 2016 that number climbed to 65,000 – the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States. However, in 2017, drug related deaths appear to be even worse.
The death toll is the latest consequence of a national public health crisis: opioid addiction. However, it is becoming even deadlier thanks to an influx of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drug overdoses, more than weapons and vehicles, are the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.
According to the NY Times, “deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.” The chart below takes a look at drug overdoses per 100,000 people. For example, in New Jersey more than 16 people out of every 100,000 died from drugs.
Big Pharma Might Be More to Blame Than You Think:
It is easy to point fingers at the people abusing drugs and blame them for their own drug related deaths. But consider this: big pharmaceutical companies are spending way more money on marketing than they are medical research. The Washington Post reported that Americans in 2013 alone spent over $392 billion on prescription drugs. That is clearly a lot of money, but so is the amount that goes into marketing these drugs.
“Johnson & Johnson, shelled out $17.5 billion on sales and marketing in 2013, compared with $8.2 billion for R&D,” Ana Swanson reported. The commercials you see daily recommending one drug, but leads you to take three other drugs to combat the first drug’s side effects? Yea, that is all due to heavy marketing efforts on part of large corporations.
Only one pharmaceutical company, Roche, spent more (just barely) on research and development than they did marketing.
How Fentanyl Is Making the Opioid Epidemic Even Worse:
Treatments to Combat Drug Related Deaths:
While there are certainly people that use drugs for a variety of purposes, those that use them for pain relief should be aware of other treatments. In most cases, you do not need prescription pain relievers to aid you. In fact, there are non-drug related options that also do not require surgery. At Metropolitan Pain Consultants we push heavily into the use of regenerative medicine and spinal cord stimulation. Both forms of therapy offer superior pain management for patients in need.
Regenerative medicine is a superior alternative to surgery and pain medications because it targets an injury, heals the injury, and offers pain relief from the injury. Additionally, both platelet-rich therapy (PRP) and stem cell injections (bone marrow concentrate) utilize the patient’s own blood for recovery.
Spinal cord stimulation, on the other hand, is a minimally invasive chronic pain management therapy. Essentially, a doctor implants a small device inside of the patient. This device counteracts painful signals reaching the brain. This significantly, if not completely, removes pain.
If you are in pain, please contact us today at 201-729-0001 for an evaluation and consultation. Moreover, if you are currently on prescription drugs and want to move away from them, we might be able to help. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us in West Orange, Aberdeen, Clifton, and Lyndhurst.