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Prescription Drugs Responsible for More NM Deaths Than Heroin

Once upon a time, the deadliest illicit substance was heroin. Highly addictive and with increasingly widespread use, it’s still a devastating drug – but it has been usurped statistically by its legal opiate cousin, prescription painkillers. Drugs like OxyContin, hydrocodone and others are now responsible for more drug overdose deaths than heroin or cocaine in New Mexico. But the most common victims of overdose are not teens who experiment or seniors who abuse their medications. The usual victim? A middle-aged female.

The Stats and Facts

The New Mexico Drug Policy Task Force says: “In New Mexico, we have a substance abuse epidemic of monumental proportions.”

Given the high number of deaths caused by prescription drugs, that’s almost an understatement. Consider the facts:

  • More and more emergency room visits are attributed to prescription drug use and misuse every year.
  • People who would never have seen themselves as “addicts” are overdosing – the largest age group of overdose deaths is 44 to 64.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, the number of overdose deaths caused by prescription painkillers tripled.
  • More women lose their lives to overdose on prescription drugs than overdose on illicit substances.
  • Between 1999 and 2009, the number of prescriptions handed out in New Mexico for oxycodone increased by 350 percent and the number of prescriptions given out for hydrocodone increased by 150 percent.

Addressing the Problem of Addiction

It’s not an easy prospect. Government agencies, the medical community, and local families have struggled with the answer to the question of addiction around the world for centuries. In general, the goal is to increase education to help decrease the development of new addiction issues and provide as many treatment options as possible for those who are living with an active addiction. But how do you get an unwilling addict to treatment? How do you help families convince their loved ones that the best option is drug rehab?

Helping Your Family

If someone you love is living with prescription drug dependence, don’t stand by and ignore the situation. Though your addicted loved one may try to convince you that you’re blowing the problem out of proportion or adamantly refuse treatment, the fact is that as long as they avoid drug rehab, they are living with the constant possibility of overdose.

If you would like more information about the programs we offer to women who are ready for recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, contact us at The Orchid today.

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