What the US Congress is doing to fight the opioid crisis
America’s battle with the opioid crisis is still an ongoing struggle.
The Narcan administered in emergencies has contributed to a reduction of opioid overdose-related deaths, but the current state of affairs leaves a lot to be desired.
In 2016, the economic impact of illegal drug use in America reached $445bn, according to the Department of Justice.
Another study suggested the real number to be around $740bn, while also taking factors such as healthcare expenses, workplace productivity and criminal justice into the equation.
Coupled with addiction disorders and overdose deaths, the annual costs in the US could very well exceed $1tn.
According to the figures presented in the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use, an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 and above should receive substance abuse treatment (amounting to 8% of the population).
However, only 2.5 million are actually receiving it.
Out of those, some drop out and some relapse into their old habits after one to two years (the figures are estimated to be 40-85%).
Only 1-5% get better long term.
Furthermore, considering that mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression often co-exist alongside an addiction, the treatment gets even more demanding.
It is said that only 6.9% of these individuals receive both the mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment they need.
Despite the doom and gloom, there is the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which the government has passed.
The legislation aims to get treatment, prevention and recovery initiatives underway.
Among other things, they want to step up the fight against deadly synthetic drugs such as fentanyl.