The United States is in the midst of an overdose epidemic. Since 2000, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased 137%, and the rate of overdose deaths involving either illicit or prescription opioids has increased 200%. Drug overdoses currently surpass car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, the rate of overdose deaths involving natural or semisynthetic opioids—such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone—reached an all-time high among opioid overdoses, which were responsible for nearly 29,000 of the more than 47,000 total drug overdose deaths that year.
The most recent data available show more people died from accidental drug overdose in 2014 than in any other year on record. In response to this trend, the U.S. surgeon general released a comprehensive report on addiction that revealed 27 million people abused prescription or illicit drugs last year. The report urges physicians and the general public to view drug addiction as a chronic neurological condition rather than a personal failure of willpower or morality. Many people who achieve sobriety are at risk of relapse, and the surgeon general emphasizes the importance of treatment as an effective way to prevent relapse.
The surgeon general’s report also highlights stigma as one of the main reasons people with an addiction may not be comfortable seeking treatment. GoodTherapy.org supports the idea that changing the way we think about addiction is an effective way to encourage those with an addiction to ask for help. In accordance with our mission to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues, we present our list of the top 10 resources of 2016 for prescription drug abuse. We believe these selections include quality content for those seeking valuable information about addiction and drug abuse.
- OverdoseFreePA: In recognition of the alarming rate at which the overdose epidemic has spread throughout urban, suburban, and rural communities, OverdoseFreePA was created to increase awareness and understanding of overdose and overdose prevention strategies. The site, a collaborative community effort, shares overdose data, information on how overdose affects communities and families, and a list of local resources residents of Pennsylvania can access.
- Harm Reduction Coalition: This organization, founded in 1993 by a group of needle exchange providers, advocates, and drug users, works to challenge the stigma of drug abuse and advocate for drug policy and public health reform. The website offers a comprehensive section explaining issues related to drug policy and overdose prevention, in addition to a section filled with multimedia resources.
- National Council on Patient Information and Education: This coalition, established in Rockville, MD in 1982, is dedicated to creating informative resources on the appropriate use of medications. It acts as an educational and representative organization and hosts and sponsors the national “Talk About Prescriptions” month each October.
- International Overdose Awareness Day: The concept for International Overdose Awareness Day came about in 2001 between two people who worked in community health in Australia. It’s an effort to recognize and acknowledge the grief felt worldwide by family, friends, and loved ones who have lost someone to an overdose. The website offers many informational resources, tools to get involved, and a wall where visitors can leave compassionate tributes to their loved ones.
- Dual Recovery Anonymous: Dual diagnosis occurs when a person experiences a mental health issue in conjunction with substance abuse. Dual diagnosis can be difficult to treat, which is what prompted Dual Recovery Anonymous to create a self-help program based on the 12-step model. The site shares many personal stories, a directory of meeting locations, and important information for those getting started with their recovery.
- Take Back Your Meds: Created by the Washington Poison Center, Take Back Your Meds is an organization working to reduce accidental poisoning and prescription drug misuse by providing information on the safe disposal of medication. According to the site, accidental poisoning is the number one cause of accidental deaths in Washington state.
- Brockton Mayor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition: Because the rates of opioid misuse and overdose often rise faster than the federal legislation process moves, many communities are taking action locally to prevent opioid addiction and overdose deaths. GoodTherapy.org wanted to recognize the efforts of Brockton, Massachusetts by sharing this comprehensive website. It serves as a good model for other communities and contains informational resources on addiction, treatment information, and news about local community efforts to target opioid abuse.
- Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse: Incorporated in March 2011, Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse was founded by three mothers united by pain and loss. The website has links to drug abuse resources, resources for teachers at every education level, a memorial wall where families can share stories of their loved ones who have passed away, and a community section to help families learn more about addiction and overdose.
- Advocates for Opioid Recovery: According to this site, a person dies every 19 minutes from opioid addiction. A nonprofit organization led by Newt Gingrich, Patrick Kennedy, and Van Jones, Advocates for Opioid Recovery is determined to advance evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction while remaining a nonpartisan effort. In addition to resources to help with legislative efforts, the group’s website contains a wealth of relevant information about the severity of the opioid crisis, evidence-based treatments, and barriers to recovery.
- Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose: To work against the opioid overdose public health crisis occurring in the United States, the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose assembled a unified group of various affected people who wish to see helpful legislation passed by Congress. In addition to their overall goal—the development of a coordinated overdose prevention strategy—the group also provides simple advocacy resources so individuals can press their representatives to enact and support legislation that targets the U.S. opioid epidemic.
Have a favorite website designed to help those experiencing prescription drug abuse and don’t see it on our list? Nominate helpful websites here.
- Facing addiction in America: The surgeon general’s report on alcohol, drugs, and health. (2016, November 17). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov
- Increases in drug and opioid overdose deaths — United States, 2000–2014. (2016, January). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm?s_cid=mm6450a3_w
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