In new data released this week, the Centers for Disease Control released data showing that the rate of opioid overdose skyrocketed by an astonishing 30%.
NPR says, The overall increase in opioid overdoses (were) seen in hospital emergency rooms between the third quarter of 2016 and 2017.
As the acting CDC Director Anne Schucat notes, this data likely underestimates the number of overdoses since so many OD victims never make it to an ER. In my opinion, this data likely largely underestimates the number of overdoses because my educated guess is that at least as many OD victims die before they make it to an ER as those who do make it there to die.
“We saw, sadly, that in every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing,” Schuchat says.
This calls attention to how many children – our kids age 15-19 – are dying of overdoses. Approximately 800 American teenagers died of overdoses annually in the latest info available.
EIGHT. HUNDRED. CHILDREN.
And more than 60,000 Americans over the age of 19 are dying each year. That’s more than the entire number of soldiers who lost their lives in our entire engagement in Vietnam.
As parents, we have to get mad. I mean, like MADD mad, an organization founded by one determined mother, sitting at her kitchen table, a mother who had lost her child to a drunk driver.
Today, more Americans die of overdoses than from auto crashes.
Or from gun deaths.
Or from AIDS.
President Trump has said mostly all the right things, including that fighting the overdose epidemic is a national emergency that he intends to treat like one. Yet, we aren’t doing anything much at all at the national level to take on this battle. So far, it’s all been talk, talk, talk. Those of us who have lost loved ones to the overdose epidemic HAVE TO GET MAD. The time is now. We have to come together in our grief to effectively lobby those who can make the changes we know have to be made and who hold the purse strings to make those changes. The drug companies have among the most powerful lobbies in the country (click on that last link and read it. You wont believe it.)
So that’s the thing. We have to get MADD. And I’m writing this from my kitchen table, believing that if enough of us come together in an organized way, enough WILL be enough. I intend to see it happen.