Opioid use in Morris County, and New Jersey has been on the rise in recent times. In Morris County, there have been 53 suspected drug related deaths, as of January 1st. Though this is a 5% improvement from last year, as there were 56 drug related deaths by end of June, this is not a significant difference. It brings about the question of what can we be doing differently vs what are we doing the same?
As of January 1st of this year, there have been over 212,000 opioid prescriptions. Comparatively, in all of 2017, there were 231,400 prescriptions, which was about 10,000 less than 2016. We are moving in the right direction, but at a slow pace. Though decreasing prescriptions does help to decrease the risk of opioid related overdoses, it is important to understand the risks of misusing and abusing opioids. Roughly 27% of people who are prescribed opioids misuse them. 86% of young people who use heroin have used prescription opioids prior. Of those who use opioids, 4-6% use heroin, after.
The risk is there. Being knowledgeable about the risks helps to build protective factors and decrease the fatalities.