The United States faces a significant problem with serious consequences if left unaddressed. The country is experiencing a rise in drug abuse, which is becoming increasingly severe. The number of drug overdose deaths per year is also increasing, with the fentanyl crisis being a major contributor to this frightening trend.
Analysts have reported that the country is headed in the wrong direction and that the situation is quite dire. Official numbers indicate that 109,680 individuals lost their lives due to drug overdose in 2022, and the trend appears to be on the rise. Unfortunately, little to no action is being taken to address this trend.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers aren't looking good. The data shows that eight States in the United States have seen the number of drug deaths increase by more than 9%. The states starting with W have the worst numbers. Washington and Wyoming have bleak stats as there has been an increase of more than 21% from 2022. Oregon seemed to look better than some other states, with an increase of about 6.8%.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the situation is disturbing. Volkow said he was surprised that despite the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an excessive increase in drug abuse.
"That's a very, very high level of overdose deaths. One could have expected that as many of the challenges imposed by the COVID pandemic were resolved, we would see a deep dive in the number of overdose deaths. It's concerning we have not seen that," Volkow said while speaking to NPR.
Improvements Recorded in Many States
From the report released in 2022, there seem to be some improvements in states. Some states saw a slow decline in drug overdose deaths per year. A very good instance is Maryland and West Virginia, two states that received the worst effects of the opioid-fentanyl crisis that broke out. They have seen some of the frighteningly high numbers reduce a bit. The two states saw a decline of about 7%.
A Columbia University epidemiology professor, Katherine Keyes, said numbers look good for these states. However, she reiterated that the crisis is over and could be worse if left out.
"The fact that it seems flattening out, at least at a national level, is encouraging. But these numbers are still extraordinarily high. We shouldn't suggest the crisis is over," she said while speaking to the Associated Press.
Bad News for Big Texas and Washington
In America's drug war, Texas and Washington seem very much affected by the situation. Some of the most prominent drug use cases, overdoses, and deaths happened in these two states. Many experts are calling for more government intervention in the uprising.
However, the American government says the new data from the different American States shows some improvement.
"We've expanded treatment to millions of Americans, we're improving access to Naloxone to reverse overdoses, and we're attacking the illicit fentanyl supply chain at every choke point," Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said.