Last week was international overdose awareness day, a day which started in 2012, originating in Australia, but aimed at raising awareness all over the world. Below are facts and Statistics around drug overdosing.
- 190,000 is the estimated number of deaths globally from drug overdoses.
- The USA has the highest death toll related to drug taking than anywhere else in the world with approximately 64,070 deaths reported from the US in one 12 month period.
- Scotland is estimated to have the highest mortality rates in europe.
- Drug-induced death is the fifth most common cause of preventable death among 15- to 49-year-olds in the United Kingdom
- The drug induced mortality rate in the United Kingdom, was almost three times more than the most recent average in Europe
- There has been a 6% increase in drug induced mortality rate since 2014.
- In 2015 China gave its first ever assessment and accounted for 49,000 deaths.
- Opioids account for the majority of Drug Induced deaths and in the UK opioid deaths has doubled over the last three years.
- Cocaine Related Deaths have increased, alongside psychoactive drugs.
- Age range from 30-49 have the highest mortality rate
- In the United Kingdom, the drug related deaths are at an all time high compared to the stats commencing in 1993.
- Australia has the highest recorded drug induced death rate in 20 years.
- In canada prescription opioid related deaths have risen and are now estimated to account for 50% of annual drug deaths.
Overdose awareness day is an important stepping stone in highlighting the scale of the problem. It aims to reduce any stigma or judgement towards overdose victims and to make them feel valued. After all, drug related deaths affect all walks of life and a diversity of cultures. It provides support for loved ones allowing them a chance to remember, grieve and an opportunity to share their stories – motivating and inspiring others. It also helps to provide education on drug overdose, so that the right help can be outsourced after making people and families aware of the signs and symptoms. Alongside awareness, medical measures have been used to help tackle the problem, such as reversing the effects of an overdose using Naloxone is widely used and administered by medical professionals. In some states in the US, family members of addicts are prescribed Naloxone with an education on when and how to administer. Whilst necessary in an emergency setting, solving addiction in treatment centres such as Ibiza Calm provides a combination of expertise care including safe detoxification, therapy, group support and after care to help addicts come off drugs and thus, reducing and in many cases stopping the chance of overdose by eliminating the root cause of the drug. But what about preventing measures? What about the risk factors of drug taking in the first place? Will improved mental health services help stop people using ? Can further education in schools and also the workplace help? Or a better family support network for those who need it? Help is there – but with the death toll rising further action in required.
This is a Global Public Health Crisis and is proven by this hard hitting evidence. Yet, the facts above have only focused on the death toll, other health implications such as the increased rate of hepatitis, HIV, organ failure, mental health and the impact on families will need to be considered, alongside increased crime rates such as drug and sex trafficking, to truly reflect the devastating impact drugs have on the world as a whole.
Collectively this is a political, media and healthcare problem which requires a joint contribution to implement strategies, evidence based research, health care services, treatment and raising awareness. What is vital to retain from this information, is the fact that these deaths are avoidable. Therefore, If this collective help doesn’t occur, the death toll will continue to rise and the opportunity to help save lives, will be lost.