In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids nationally, according to the CDC. That number is the most recently available one. And the Center reported that prescriptions quadrupled between 1999 and 2012, with South Dakota historically giving out fewer prescriptions per 100 people as compared to neighboring states Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana.
Per the 2012 data, the Great Plains region had a lower number of prescribed opioids as compared to the rest of the country. Nevertheless, prescription opioid abuse remains a major problem that is actively hobbling the city's progress.
"We are seeing more heroin and prescription drugs present than we ever did in years before," says Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan. "It is going to be a trend we have to stop soon." And he is right - as it is, people are dying every day in South Dakota, owing to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
Fentanyl pills are making their way into the state by mail and are being distributed to residents. In 2016, the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy reported more than 600,000 prescriptions for opioids in South Dakota.
In an effort to encourage people to properly dispose of prescription medications, including prescribed opioids, South Dakota's Division of Criminal Investigation has installed drop-off medication boxes in at least one retail pharmacy in every county in the state. On Oct. 28, 2019 South Dakota will participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an initiative to limit the presence of unused opioids. All of these initiatives highlight just how seriously the state is taking its prescription opioid abuse issue.
In 2017, South Dakota providers wrote 49.0 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions (per the CDC).
In the year 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. - an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly in South Dakota from 2013 (6.9 per 100,000) to 2017 (8.5 per 100,000). While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy.In South Dakota, there were 146 cases of NAS/NOWS from 2009-2013, with 1 in 4 cases involving opioids (South Dakota Department of Health).
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 39 occurred in South Dakota. Among males, 16.7 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 22.2 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse.
In 2015, an estimated 514 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in South Dakota — a rate of 73 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 20.7 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 21.7 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There were approximately 20 new cases of acute HCV (2.3 per 100,000 persons) reported in South Dakota in 2016 (CDC). In South Dakota, there are an estimated 3,800 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 590 cases per 100,000 persons. A good amount of these cases were attributable to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
South Dakota is taking on the issue of prescription drug addiction from all angles. The state has recently announced that pharmaceutical companies will pay the state nearly 30 million dollars as part of a lawsuit settlement.
The charges against pharmaceutical companies are anchored onto "misrepresentations regarding the risks and the benefits of opioid use and their actions to conceal those risks and benefits."
In 2018, around 600,000 opioid prescriptions were written in South Dakota. South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd, who's also a doctor, says this rise in prescription drug use is due to a misconception.
He reminisces that "It's really become a challenge because people have been told by pharmaceutical manufacturers that they should be able to live pain free and those of us who prescribe narcotics on a daily basis know that really what narcotics are supposed to do is alter your perception of pain, not make you pain free."
Rather fortunately, there are numerous centers of treatment and rehab in the state of South Dakota. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in South Dakota, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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