"There are a lot of different sources of this products," Dr. Alexander shares. "The underlying things that fuel this is the vast number of Americans that is physically dependent or addicted to the product."
Statistics show that drug overdoses kill more people than guns
Last year, more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, which was the highest figure ever recorded in the United States.
The drug problem in the US continues to become worse as back in 2015, as more people died because of drug overdoses compared to gun related deaths.
There was a 23% increase in cases of heroin overdose
In 2015, more than 50,000 Americans died due to drug overdoses, which was way higher than the number of gun related deaths which were at 36,252.
Heroin related deaths grew by over 23% in a single year. The alarming information came only days after a report said that fentanyl, an illegal opiate that's over 40 times stronger than heroin, is now the largest drug threat to the US, killing over 44 people a day on average.
"I don't think we've ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times," shared Robert Anderson, from the CDC.
Heroin has been an ongoing problem in the United States that choose no one; a heroin overdose took the life of renowned Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, the impact of the drug problem is much more felt by the common American.
"The underlying things that fuel this is the vast number of Americans that is physically dependent or addicted to the product"
Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness shares that the numbers were very alarming and it shows the impact of drug abuse in the US.
He adds that part of the problem is that addicts have a lot of options when it comes to getting their opioid fix, and it's not just from heroin.
Go to the next page to learn more about helping someone get over a drug addiction.
Helping someone get clean
Drug addiction doesn't discriminate. The sad fact of the matter is that anyone, from any background, can fall prey to drug addiction. That's why it's very important for us to be understanding and not judge a friend or a loved one who may have become addicted to drugs.
It's up to us to help them get themselves clean, and here are some steps to help them:
- Be non-confrontational and persuasive. If you want someone addicted to drugs to get themselves clean, it's very important to be non-confrontational and persuasive. This means that you shouldn't accuse them of anything, but you have to persuade them to seek help for themselves.
- Give them facts. Give it to them straight, if their addiction has caused problems, then don't be afraid to tell it like it is. However, do your best not to judge them. They should be able to understand the extent of their addiction and how it has negatively impacted the way they are with other people.
- Show your concern. Tell them that you're genuinely concerned about their well-being. Tell them that you care about them, and that's why you want them to get better.
- Tell them it's an illness. Tell them that their problem is an illness, and not because of their lack of willpower or lack of moral judgment. Make them understand that they're a normal human being with an illness, that can possible prove fatal if left untreated.
- Give them a choice, but don't threaten them. Don't force them to get help, make them understand that you're offering them a choice, and it's their decision whether or not they want to get better. Never present them with threats as it only serves to make them feel worse and they might not even seek any help.
- Ask others to help you. Doing an intervention as a group can also be helpful, but you have to make sure that everyone in the group is on the same page. Be understanding, patient, and firm about your wish to make that person get clean.
- Tough love is important. Be loving, understanding, patient, and kind, but don't take the responsibility yourself. The burden of getting clean is with the person who is suffering from an addiction, and not you. Do your best to help them, but at the end of the day, they have to help themselves.
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