SCIENTISTS ISSUE A WARNING ABOUT A POSSIBLE STIMULANT EPIDEMIC
- October 4, 2018
Americans have been focusing on the continuing opioid crisis and the debate of medical/recreational marijuana, but, in the meantime, medical professionals have warned us about a new epidemic that is rapidly taking shape in our country: stimulant addiction. Researchers are urging the public to create awareness for this devastating problem, and recent studies definitely reinforce this issue. While opioid overdoses cause the most drug-related deaths in the country, stimulant overdoses are slowly gaining on this trend.
A Closer Look at the Growing Epidemic
Government-funded studies have showcased that, in recent years, rates of abuse and addiction of stimulants have begun to increase and (in many cases) surpass opioid addiction rates:
- 2017: 7,663 people died as the result of overdoses on stimulants (an increase from 5,992 people in 2016)
- 2016:3 million people consumed opioids, while 2.6 million people used stimulants (both for the purpose of achieving their first “high”)
- 2016: In the past month, 3.8 million people used opioids to achieve a “high,” while a staggering 4.3 million people took stimulants for the same purpose and within the same period.
Due to the fact that opioids and stimulants affect users in drastically different ways, scientists speculate these epidemics are affecting two different groups of people. On one hand, stimulants are designed to create bursts of intense energy and sharpen a person’s focus. On the opposing side, opioids stimulate a sense of euphoria, calmness, and well-being. However, experts warn that stimulant abuse is much more detrimental to the human body.
Why Are Stimulants More Harmful Than Opioids?
Why are these drugs so dangerous?
First, stimulants have a greater impact on the cardiovascular system than opioids. Amphetamines and cocaine, for example, increase blood pressure and heart rate and can inflict tremendous residual damage on the lungs and liver.
Second, scientists are fearful that stimulant addicts may be harder to treat than opioid addicts. People who suffer an overdose from morphine or heroin can be rescued with a dose of Narcan, but a stimulant addict cannot be saved by a miracle drug. In response to the rising problem, some groups have called for the creation of specialized addiction treatment for meth addicts and the development of life-saving rescue drugs for overdoses.
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