The release of otherwise confidential information has surfaced from the DEA. This long standing agency promoting and enforcing a drug free society has compiled pain pill statistics from 2006 to 2012. With this information now in the hands of the Washington Post, the nation is more aware than ever of the opioid epidemic.
What is the DEA?
The DEA is the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is considered a federal law enforcement agency that works under the Department of Justice. It has the primary task of combating the trafficking of drugs to and from the United States, as well as distribution. Their goals are to enhance overall public safety, health, and increase national security. They uphold several core values, which include dedication to the constitution and maintaining the highest level of integrity.
Founded in 1973, the DEA has been responsible for enforcing the regulations and laws surrounding controlled substances. They are also responsible for bringing these individuals or organizations breaking these laws or regulations before a court of law. The men and women who are part of the DEA put their lives on the line to try and provide a drug free society. The DEA provides different organizations, such as schools and hospitals, with necessary information and educational tools. However, most of the analytical data obtained by the DEA should remain confidential.
DEA’s Pain Pill Database Made Public
Exclusively released by The Washington Post, the path of every pain pill sold in the United States between 2006 and 2012 was made public. This data shows trends and patterns that were only otherwise speculated about. The Washington Post took the liberty of sifting through this information, compiling important statistics. The results were shocking. More than 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were distributed across the country.
The Post was allowed access to this otherwise confidential information due to a court order. The Washington Post and HD Media out of West Virginia fought for the right to have access to the database. While The Post has not published the exact database, they have allowed access to some of the information interactively and it can be filtered. This means that it is easy for readers to see where hydrocodone and oxycodone went (which states and counties). But, it does not stop there. The companies and distributors are also named.
The Opioid Epidemic Spirals out of Control
During the six year period, from 2006 to 2012, a surge occurred. The influx of pills began to spread and grew by 51 percent. The top pill distributors during this time were McKesson Corp, Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmericsourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart. These six companies were responsible for nearly 75 percent of pill distribution.
When comparing the surge of pills per person per year and opioid deaths, the results are positively correlated. This means that in states and counties with a higher pill to person ratio, the opioid death rate is also higher. This increase happens sporadically and quickly. The information can be found in the form of an interactive map. The Post released this comparison to shed light on how the opioid crisis is affecting all different communities across the nation.
These journalists, editors, reporters, and healthcare workers are using the information obtained by The Post for good. They are using the data to analyze how pain pills have been affecting their communities, comparing different maps to gather more information. They are using this as an educational tool, and as a call to action that more measures need to be in place to stop the epidemic.
Shedding Light on Addiction
The Washington Post has publicly shared a database of pain pill progression, as well as deaths from opioids, over a six year span. While this may seem like a short amount of time, the epidemic is apparent and shocking. When looking at the numbers for individual counties and even states, the proof of a crisis is written in black and white. This information is harboring a nationwide problem that needs to be addressed. The call to action demands more treatment and rehabilitation for drug addiction.
Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease that can affect anyone. Pain pills, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are very addictive. While everyone’s mind and body will react differently to drugs, substance abuse most often leads to addiction. Abuse of a substance is using a substance not for its intended purpose. When hydrocodone or oxycodone enters the body, it causes your brain’s reward system to act abnormally. Your levels of dopamine will skyrocket, leaving your brain experiencing a euphoric feeling. This feeling will eventually fade, as it is only temporary. Then, your brain will seek out that same feeling. This means that you will seek out more and more of that drug.
Addiction can cause temporary and sometimes permanent changes to the brain and body. In order to recover from addiction, treatment is necessary. Attempting to recover alone and at home from addiction can lead to serious consequences and is very dangerous. Relapse, overdose, and even death can occur. Enrolling in a professional treatment program will ensure your safety, as well as lead you down a healthier path.
When to Seek Help
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, the time to seek help is now. Addiction can cause potentially life-threatening effects if left untreated. There is always hope for recovery and it is never too late to get on a positive path. If you are suffering from addiction, you deserve the help you need in order to get back to a happier and healthier you.
A Better Today Recovery Services will connect you to a treatment center that takes addiction treatment to the next level, by providing specialized treatment options. Their dedicated teams of passionate professionals strive to provide the most positive experience for every patient. They believe that every patient is unique and deserving of an individualized experience. Call today to learn more about different treatment options and how they can help you change your life for the better.