Did you know that drug overdose rates are increasing sharply year after year and resulted in about 100,000 deaths in 2021 – compared with only 11,000 overdose deaths in 1999, according to the National Safety Council

Opioids play a role in about 70 percent of these deaths. And it’s so important to understand that pills and other substances you might get off the streets – including marijuana – may be laced with fentanyl or other addictive components.

So why are people subjecting themselves to these substances and why are others making them? 

Some people believe that drug users want instant gratification and prefer to escape reality. Others believe pharmaceutical companies and drug dealers thrive off keeping individuals addicted. Some drug dealers believe they are helping the sick by providing them with substances that keep withdrawal effects at bay. And others know that if drug users continue coming back, their revenue is constant. 

So why would drug users risk overdosing if that could lead to death? Most are convinced that “overdosing is a good thing,” that means they acquired a really good product or at least one that supersedes others. 

Understanding the disease concept of addiction is complicated and overwhelming. If you are struggling with addiction currently or have a loved one that might be, know that overdoses are common and do not discriminate. Every time someone uses a substance in excess, they risk overdosing. Drug users may not be lucky enough to have someone alongside them to bring them back or to revive them. It only takes about 10 minutes for brain function to cease as a result of overdose. 

In 2021, more than four times as many people died from drug overdose than from homicide. If we are uneducated about what is happening in our communities and fail to use resources, this number will only continue to climb. Gun violence is another unfortunate but common issue; it is heartbreaking that drug use is more deadly than homicide itself. 

Recovery is possible and becoming more of a trend. It starts with one step: a phone call to get the help you or someone you know may need. For more drug and alcohol resources, feel free to contact New Horizon’s Recovery Centers that can get you in the right direction! Please do not allow lack of funding or insurance to hold you back. In addition, each county has a ton of resources that can assist you! For more information visit Addiction Services – DBHIDS

If you are in immediate need of crisis services, call 988.

About the Author: Kristal DeFeo, MS, Behavioral Health Expert Executive Director at New Horizon’s Recovery Centers and CEO of KDCOACHING LLC.