Slowing Down the Fastest-Growing Addiction in America

Man with pill

(DGIwire) — When we think of addiction, especially life-threatening addiction, alcohol or stimulants may be the first things that come to mind. We probably all know at least one person, either a family member or friend, who has struggled with the demon of alcohol addiction. Not everyone can think of a friend who has tried to beat an opiate addiction. However, according to the Burlington Free Press, that may be changing for Vermont residents. In 2013, more Vermonters sought rehab treatment for opiate addiction than they did for alcohol addiction.

According to the Associated Press, Harry Chen, Secretary of Vermont Human Services, publicized a chart displaying the shifting numbers of people being treated for either alcohol or opiate addiction. Over a 10-year period, the chart shows a decline in Vermont residents seeking alcohol treatment—4,987 in 2004 to just 3,776 in 2013—and a sharp rise in those seeking opiate treatment—1,199 in 2004 to 4,043 in 2013.

This report, while certainly disheartening, is no surprise. Vermont’s statewide battle with opiates has been well-covered by the popular magazine Vice and other media outlets. Although the decline in alcohol treatment is a good sign, it may mean that more Vermont residents are forgoing drinking for a more dangerous high. According to Chen, those fighting alcohol dependency live with it for much longer—25 years—before seeking treatment compared to those battling addiction to opiates—just eight years. Those statistics might mean that there has been a longstanding decline in the number of Vermont residents turning to drink, but more likely they could mean something more ominous: that we are at the base of a steep hill of young people turning to opiates as a means of getting high.

While the problem in that particular form may or may not be unique to Vermont, it highlights a disturbing trend toward self-medication and drug addiction that we as a nation have to work to stop. As more and more people succumb to opiate addiction, it is clear that a new treatment paradigm has to be put in place.

BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. (BDSI), a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Raleigh, NC, is dedicated to treating addiction while providing new methods for pain management. BDSI understands that drug addiction is a complicated medical problem requiring long-term treatment and care, and is focused on helping people living with addiction to regain control of their lives.

Opiate addiction is a growing trend that needs to be curbed. New medications and convenient delivery methods can be major factors in a successful treatment plan.