Why Are We Doing This?

Owl RIP graphic

Because we’re tired of watching opioid and heroin addiction cripple and kill our friends and loved ones.

Because we’re tired of watching tragedy unfold through the collateral damage that addiction causes within families and communities.

We’re doing this because we’re outraged that human beings are dying in large numbers over a profit-driven feedback loop between between the pharmaceutical, health insurance, and private rehab industries.

Because 7.7 million Americans are currently living with an illicit drug use disorder, according to the most recent report from the US Surgeon General’s office.

Because there is a loneliness epidemic underlying the overdose epidemic in America: 54 percent of Americans feel that no one knows them very well, and 56 percent feel like the people they’re surrounded with “are not necessarily with them.”

Because 115 people in this country die everyday from opioid-related overdoses.

Because in 2017, 72,000 people died from drug overdoses. 68% of those deaths involved opioids like heroin, fentanyl, or prescription pain-killers.

Because overdose deaths now account for more unintentional fatalities every year than automobile accidents.

Because there were 547,543 emergency department visits related to drug poisoning in 2015.

Because those ages 18-25 are the demographic most affected by drug overdose. Our future is dying.

Because between 2002 and 2017 there was a 7.6 fold increase in the total number of deaths related to heroin and a 22 fold increase in the total number of deaths related to fentanyl

Because morgue infrastructure is failing due to the sheer number of dead bodies flooding the system.

Because 67% of heroin users who are revived by Narcan will use heroin again within the next 24 hours.

Because 80% of people who complete a drug rehab program will relapse within the first month after treatment.

Because we’re angry.

Because we’re losing friends, family and neighbors. Because we’re losing the people we love.

Because it needs to STOP.

Between 1999 and 2016, more than 630,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States. The current epidemic of drug overdoses began in the 1990s with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, driven by dramatic increases in prescribing of opioids for chronic pain. In 2010, rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin marked the second wave of opioid overdose deaths. The third wave began in 2013, when overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, particularly those involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl, began to increase significantly. In addition to deaths, nonfatal overdoses from both prescription and illicit drugs are responsible for increasing emergency department visits and hospital admissions.

Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes, United States CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2018.

These data are compiled from the CDC’s WONDER database

Additional information on the last Administration’s efforts to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is here.

More information about the last Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy is here.