2020 Saw a Steep Rise in Overdose Deaths
Preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paints a disturbing picture of the opioid crisis: Over 93,000 Americans died of a drug overdose last year, which is the single highest year recorded and the sharpest one-year increase (29.4%) since 1999. Nevada specifically saw an estimated 916 fatal overdoses last year, compared to 715 the year before.
Experts believe that the circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are partially responsible explosive rise in overdoses. These include:
- Economic toll.
- Reduced access to addiction treatment.
Additionally, there has been an increase in drugs being cut with synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, that are especially dangerous and potent.
Removing Barriers to Treatment
When confronted with this alarming data, it’s easy to feel hopeless. However, experts have been scrambling for solutions. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released an issue brief, which provided recommendations to lawmakers on how best to address the problem.
These predominantly involve improving access to treatment by eliminating legal obstacles that prevent opioid treatment programs from opening, making methadone more available, and making treatment more affordable by expanding Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
These recommendations were bolstered by a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that many Americans depend on Medicaid reimbursements for medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD).
“Medicaid plays an incredibly important role in our health system, and the population it serves overlaps with those most likely to have opioid use disorder,” said Julie Donohue, Ph.D., chair of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Health Policy and Management in the Graduate School of Public Health and co-author of the study.
Types of Addiction Treatment
A common misconception about addiction is that it is a choice and that people struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) just lack the strength or willpower to go through withdrawal and remain sober. In truth, addiction is a chronic mental condition that often requires professional treatment and detoxification is only the beginning.
Addiction treatment is a highly individualized process, meaning that different settings or methods may be better for certain people and their own unique needs. Addiction treatment often involves a combination of medication and different forms of therapy. Through evidence-based therapy, patients can alter negative thought and behavioral patterns, form and maintain better interpersonal relationships, and learn the skills they need to stay sober.
At Desert Hope Treatment Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, addiction specialists work with each patient to outline a treatment plan that is best suited for them. There are several options for treatment settings and levels, including medical detox and an outpatient telehealth program.
Following treatment, alumni can remain in contact with their peers and track their progress through the recovery app, attend sober events and peer-support meetings hosted by the facility, or stay at the Desert Hope sober-living facility.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out to an admissions navigator at .