Opioid Addiction Rates are Increasing at a Stunning Rate

Opioid addiction rates are increasing at an alarming rate, as reported in this article. It seems that the worst rates are in the midwestern and southern states, and there has been a five-fold increase just in the recent few years. It is quite likely that the increase is due to the opioid crisis coming to the forefront and much attention being directed toward it over the last few years. More physicians are looking for it, and diagnosing it.

What is disturbing, though, is that despite this rise in addiction diagnoses and awareness, treatment rates lag far behind. Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a very effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, in order to prescribe it, doctors need to have some specialized training and get a DEA waiver. Relatively few doctors have gone through the process. And, out of the ones who have, many either never provide this treatment or stop doing it after a short period of time. Certainly, this lack of adequate number of doctors able to treat addiction is exacerbating the problem.