Drug and Substance Abuse Disorders: A Look at the South

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes. The report outlines the effects of illicit and prescription drugs and how they are impacting the United States. It breaks up some of its data into regions and individual states, so there is information regarding how this nation’s drug crisis and the resulting drug misuse and addiction is affecting the southern parts of the country.

Key Data from the CDC’s Annual Report

Between 1999 and 2016, more than 630,000 Americans died from overdose-related incidents. This epidemic began with prescription painkillers in the 1990s and began to rapidly increase in 2010 thanks to a surge in the use of heroin. Now, there are rising numbers of opioid overdose deaths tied to synthetic opioids such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

The number of opioid prescriptions has dropped 19.2 percent from 72.4 per 100 people in 2006 to 58.5 per 100 people in 2017. Also, the percentage of opioids prescribed that were considered high dosage dropped from 15.9 percent in 2006 to 8.5 percent in 2017.

In 2017, 56.9 million Americans filled at least one prescription for an opioid. This is 17.4 percent of the population. Among age groups, 26.8 percent of these prescriptions went to people ages 65 or older, followed by individuals ages 55–64 (26.3 percent) and people ages 45-54 (23.1 percent).

Unfortunately, the situation is still dire. The report estimates that 2.2 million Americans received addiction treatment services for a substance use disorder in 2016. There were an estimated 48.5 million people that year that reported misusing substances, which could suggest a gap in treatment services.

Overdose rates are also soaring. 2016 was the highest year so far for overdose deaths, with 19.8 per 100,000 people and a total of 63,632 lives lost. Of those, 66.4 percent involved a prescription drug or illicit opioids. Mortality rates related to cocaine and methamphetamine also increased in 2016.

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The CDC’s report reveals that the Southern U.S. states have many people with a substance use disorder.

Commonly Misused Drugs in the Southern US

The CDC broke down many of its statistics by region and U.S. state to give a better idea of how this nation’s drug crisis is impacting certain areas. Certain southern states have been particularly hard hit in recent years. The southern census region is defined by the following states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

According to the CDC’s report, the South has the highest rates of illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse in the nation, with 8.9 million people reporting misusing prescription and illicit drugs. Of those, 1.2 million misused prescription pain relievers. When it comes to specific drugs used in the South, 7.2 million reported using marijuana, 1.3 million reported using heroin or prescription pain relievers, and 551,000 reported using cocaine. This is slightly behind the Western region, where more people (7.4 million) reported using marijuana.

The rates of self-reported prescription drug misuse in the past year by people aged 12 and older were also highest in the South. Nearly 16 million people in southern states reported misusing substances, and the drugs with the highest rates were prescription pain relievers, prescription tranquilizers and prescription stimulants. The South had the second highest rate of self-reported illicit drug misuse, following the West. The drugs with the highest misuse rates were marijuana, followed by heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Where people get the most addiction treatment also varies by region according to this data. In 2016, 2.1 million people in the United States received some type of addiction treatment, and 1.4 million individuals received treatment in a specialty facility. Of the total who received any type of treatment, 796,000 were in the South and 500,000 were in the Midwest.

Hospitalization, emergency room visits and overdoses were also split up by region in this report. In 2015, there were 316,900 hospital visits related to drug poisoning nationwide. More than 125,000 visits took place in the South, and a majority of those were related to opioid misuse. More than half a million emergency department visits related to drug misuse were reported in the United States in 2015. The highest number, 189,484, came from the South, and these were related to opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine misuse.

In 2016, 63,632 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses. When broken down by region, the South had the highest mortality rates by far, with 23,039 deaths, followed by the Northeast (14,804), Midwest (14,623) and West (11,166). In the South, the drugs most commonly involved in drug overdose deaths were synthetic opioids other than methadone (6,600), followed by natural and semi-synthetic opioids (6,136) and methadone (1,231).

When it comes to individual states, the highest opioid prescribing rates in the nation were in Alabama at 107.2 per 100 persons. Other high rates were all southern states: Arkansas (105.4), Tennessee (94.4), Mississippi (92.9) and Louisiana (89.5). When it comes to age-adjusted mortality rates in the south, West Virginia is the highest at 52 per 100,000 persons followed by Kentucky (33.5) and Florida (23.7).

How a Florida Drug Rehab Can Help

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, it does not matter where you live. Addiction is an equal opportunity disease that does not pay attention to borders or other divisions. The good news is that there is qualified addiction treatment help available at a Florida drug rehab.

At Orlando Recovery Center, trained medical professionals carefully assess the needs and circumstances of each client. One of their primary goals is to ensure that you receive the treatment services that you need and deserve. A life free from addictive and harmful substances is waiting just around the corner. Contact Orlando Recovery Center now to learn more about their rehab services and your admissions options.