Feb. 24, 2022 – “We’re in what is now becoming known as the fourth wave of the opioid epidemic. The first wave was the over-prescription of analgesics like oxycodone, morphine and hydromorphone, which led to  dependence and a false sense of security in terms of using them,” Olive said. ”This dependence led  people to turn to street heroin. From there, it’s evolved into problems with fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid drug that is so potent that it’s life-threatening at even very small doses.”

As a result of the pandemic, there has been a massive spike in opioid-related deaths, due in part to people who previously had access to treatment facilities no longer being able to find care. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2020, 41.1 million people needed substance use treatment, yet only 4 million received any type of substance use treatment, while only 1 million received treatment at a specialty facility.

While many people are aware of famous celebrities such as Mac Miller, Tyler Skaggs, Prince and Tom Petty all dying from accidental fentanyl overdoses, the lesser known fact is that approximately 9.5 million people abused opioids or prescription drugs in 2020, including 100,000 fatalities.


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