Opioids Overdose Deaths Epidemic Explainer

Opioids Overdose Deaths Epidemic Explainer – The Next Steps

Cuyahoga County, Ohio is the latest location to shine a spotlight on the nation’s skyrocketing opioid problem. CNN reported last week on February 8th at least 14 people had overdosed over the weekend in Cuyahoga County on opioids. We are barely into the 2nd month of 2017 and the Ohio Montgomery County Coroner’s office is already expressing concerns of running out of room for incoming deceased bodies. Last September, Cuyahoga County had 7 drug overdoses in a period of 24 hours.

Over 60% of the autopsies performed this year in that office alone have involved drug overdoses. The thing is this: Cuyahoga County is not alone. Cities, towns, and counties all over the United States have been enduring these high number of opioids drug fatalities in ‘spurts’ for a few years, which begs the questions;

“Why is it there an epidemic of opioid overdose fatalities in America and why are they happening at once in groups?”


One theory behind the problem is when a drug of very high potency, like Fentanyl, gets introduced to the community, the number of overdoses dramatically rising in a short period of time happens. A bad drug or a strong drug in a community (especially where addicts/users/criminals congregate to get a hold of ‘good’ stuff at the same time) leads to a greater number of people dying from overdoses. FYI- Fentanyl is the drug that music legend Prince overdosed on in his home.

According to Dr. Fiellin of Yale School of Medicine, the state of Connecticut concluded more than 40% of opioid-related overdoses involved people having other substances in their body. In other words, mixing pain pills or a prescription medication like Xanax with alcohol may prove to be deadly. The nationwide surging numbers include disturbing revelations about the problem including,

  • 91 people die in America daily from opioid drug overdoses
  • Synthetic opioids overdose deaths rose over 72% during 2014 to 2015 (CDC)
  • In 2015, over 33,000 people died from opioid overdose in America

What do we do as a society to prevent future opioid deaths?

Oftentimes, it is seen where people with opioid use disorder are actually using the opioid drugs to aid with withdrawal and not using the drug any longer for the high. This is because they have typically already developed such a high level of tolerance to the drug that it no longer satisfies their need for that ‘high.’

Developing a custom plan for the individual to learn how to live life without drugs is a process. It works best with the ultimate goal of the individual being able to comfortably function and live life as a contributing member of society. Congregation with other drug users is highly discouraged, as it has a high tendency to lead to temptation and relapses.

Instead of stopping at emergency medical treatment or a sentence for possession, there needs to be resources utilized to lower the risk for future use of the drug itself. Unfortunately, jail time doesn’t usually work to solve the underlying problem either. Saving someone’s life from overdosing doesn’t work to solve any problem, except the immediate issue of dying. Life reform needs to happen and it works best if used in a set of guidelines with the support of others around while actively monitoring the person for illegal substances.

How We Help

The products and serviced offered by Michigan Diagnostic Alcohol and Drug Services cover all of the needs you have for client or loved ones with opioid drug disorder. We can help you help them stay clean and on track towards a full and complete life without drugs.

Counseling Services – We help people in need, suffering from depression, mental disorders, and drug addictions to learn how to get past the loneliness, insecurity, and hopelessness. When dealing with drug and alcohol dependencies, it is important to get to the root of the problem the person has that is sending them running towards drugs. Instead, our services allow the individual to focus on the future and using new coping skills to get there without the need for mind altering substances.

Offender Monitoring – MDAD offers a wide array of monitoring solutions with M-TRACK, HOUSE ARREST, Scram CAM, GPS, BREATH PBT and they are utilized by local, county, and state agencies around the country. Bail bond companies are a big customer market too.

Drug/ Alcohol Testing Services – We offer all of the instant lab needs you have for your offenders and clients on probation. If you are concerned about your loved ones who are using or in trouble legally because of substance abuse issues, MDADS can help. Contact us for the testing services you need to help them stay accountable. All results are admissible in legal proceedings and court cases. Help keep them on track with our testing services, as being drug-free increases the chance of employment and passing their entrance screens.