Much has been written about the opioid crisis in the United States. Recently, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report highlighting just how critical the problem has become.
Mental Health and Opioid Abuse
Specifically, the report examined how many people with a mental health condition turned to opioids to treat their problem. The report examined the number of people with a serious mental health problem who also misused an opioid drug. The numbers — 1.5 million — demonstrate just how widespread and dangerous opioid abuse has become.
Here are just a few of the startling facts revealed in the SAMHSA report:
- One in eight adults with a serious mental health illness misused opioids.
- 7 million Americans age 12 and up misused an opioid drug in 2016.
- The report defined a “serious mental illness” as one of a sufficient duration to cause “serious functional impairment in an individual’s major life activities”
SAMHSA has also published shocking statistics about the prevalence of co-occurring behavioral disorders in the United States. A combined 63.8 million Americans over the age of 18 have either a substance abuse disorder or a mental health illness, and about 12 percent of these individuals have both.
Help for Opioid Addiction
If you are currently struggling with an opioid addiction, or you care about someone who is, it’s important to know that help is available. In 2014, over 28,000 people in the U.S. died due to an opioid overdose. Common opioids include heroin, as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
Opioid addiction is a problem that affects people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and walks of life. It is a major problem in both urban centers and rural communities, and it affects teachers, professionals, parents, and even grandparents. In short, there is no certain “type” of person who succumbs to an opioid addiction.
Opioid addiction is particularly troubling for individual with a mental health illness, as these powerful drugs change the chemical composition in the brain states Chief Clinical Operations Officer at Summit Behavioral Health a Drug Rehab facility in New Jersey.
When a person with a mental health issue takes an opioid, they may not even realize the drug is negatively affecting them. For others, they don’t realize they are addicted until they attempt to stop taking the drug and experience painful withdrawal symptoms.