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December 8, 2022

Are Opiate Overdoses Still the Main Killer of Young Men?

The opioid epidemic hit the country hard. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids increased by more than 10,000, with just over 80,800 deaths in 2021 related to opioids. And unfortunately, 2022 has been on track to see another record increase. 

Opiates and opioids have been under fire for some time now. They have been taking lives for several years, unnecessarily in almost every instance. Opiates and opioids are two different groups of drugs, defined by the fact that the former is extracted from plant matter while the latter are synthetically created. They include drugs like:

  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Loperamide
  • Oxymorphone
  • Meperidine 
  • Heroin

Are Opiate Overdoses Still the Main Killer of Young Men?You might know some of these drugs by their brand names: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol, Darvocet—the list is no stranger to those who have a problem with addiction, and especially those who came to addiction by way of prescription drug abuse. 

While there has been a crackdown on the prescription of these narcotics and a focus on helping people find recovery, opiate and opioid overdoses still kill thousands upon thousands of young men across the country every single year. Right now, the focus is on fentanyl. 

The Fentanyl Crisis

As if the opioid epidemic isn’t enough, another drug is on the market claiming an alarming number of lives. Fentanyl is highly toxic and deadly in impressively small doses, which is part of what makes it so dangerous. It was initially mixed with other drugs to help them “go further.” And of course, those who were mixing it had no idea just how deadly this substance was until it was consumed. 

Today, people are overdosing on amounts of fentanyl that are almost too small to measure, and no one knows which drugs will have it. Most of the people who are overdosing aren’t actually aware that they’re taking fentanyl at all—they’ve paid for and expected to receive another drug that was pure and ready to use. 

Unfortunately, more and more drugs are being cut with fentanyl and no one is saying anything about it. Of the 80,000 overdose deaths that occurred in 2021, as many as 70,000 of them had something to do with fentanyl. That should tell you everything that you need to know. 

The Dangers of Opioids 

Of course, fentanyl isn’t the only one that’s dangerous. It’s in the spotlight right now because it has been responsible for many deaths and overdoses in the past year or two. There are several other dangers of opioids that people need to be concerned about. For starters, regular use of these drugs can lead to chemical dependence, even when used as prescribed. 

When opioids are misused, they can quickly become addictive. Eventually, opioid addiction leads to serious overdose incidents in search of a better and better high. And as mentioned above, there’s also a danger of overdose when buying black market drugs because they could be cut with fentanyl, which is highly toxic in even the smallest amounts. 

Ongoing use can lead to difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, hypoxia (oxygen deprivation in the brain), and slowed heart rate, which can increase the risk of death. It creates a sense of euphoria at the same time, so most people overlook the physical symptoms, which often cause them to end up falling into a coma, overdosing, causing permanent brain damage, or dying. 

Opioids are dangerous, period. The best thing you can do is seek help immediately so you can start on the path to recovery sooner than later. After all, considering that drug overdoses still make up as many as 1/3 of all deaths among young men aged 18-35, with conditions like heart disease and liver disease not far behind. Considering that these conditions are usually the result of addiction or substance abuse, you can see why it’s best to get help as soon as possible. 

How to Find Help 

Are Opiate Overdoses Still the Main Killer of Young Men?

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opiates or any other drug, you should seek an addiction treatment center to get the help you need. At Meta, we have various solutions for people dealing with all types of addictions, including those battling opioids in Massachusetts. We can help you customize an opioid addiction treatment plan that includes everything you need, whether inpatient or outpatient care, support groups, psychiatry and psychotherapy, medically-assisted detox, or anything else.

We take pride in helping people beat their addictions once and for all, and we know that sooner is always better when it comes to dangerous drugs like opioids. Call us today to learn more or discuss your addiction treatment needs

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/img-ed-480x572.jpg[/author_image]  [author_info]Reviewed by Ed Lepage, Executive Director

Ed Lepage completed the drug and alcohol certificate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has been working in the substance abuse dependency field for the past seven years. He has also worked extensively in peer recovery-based programs offering “real-world experience” to those that suffer from substance use dependency. Full Bio [/author_info] [/author]