Between 2017 and 2018 drug overdose deaths declined for the first time since 1990. This was mainly due to reduced deaths from prescription opioids. Given the impact of overdose deaths on the overall trend of decreasing life expectancy in the US, it was interesting to see recent data from the CDC showing a slight uptick in life expectancy to 78.7 years (an increase of 0.1 year from 2017). While not a large number by any means, it does speak to the massive public health undertaking to reverse the opioid epidemic.
This has included efforts to better monitor, and as needed, reduce prescriptions, as well as curtailing of illicit online sales of opioids and identification of alternative approaches to pain management. Organizations, such as CSIP partner, the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, have increased resources for families and created parent to parent mentoring programs to help parents support children recovering from opioid addiction. CSIP continues to work to keep families safe from dangerous and illegally operating online pharmacies, while also disseminating education and outreach materials on the dangers of opioids.
It is important to remember, though, that not all geographic areas and populations of the US are seeing improvement. Some states, such as Missouri, Rhode Island,California, South Carolina, Vermont, Louisiana, and Arizona saw increases in opioid overdose deaths, and urban areas are still seeing higher overdose death rates than rural areas. In addition, while deaths from overdoses of prescription opioids declined, deaths from synthetic opioids (i.e. fentanyl) increased 10% and deaths from stimulants (i.e. methamphetamines and cocaine), increased as much as 30%. There is still so much work to do to understand and break cycles of drug abuse in families and communities. We must build off the recent positive momentum in prescription opioids to other areas – especially in those populations most in need.
About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health. CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.