Shocking Findings in Denver Opioid Report

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opioid addictionThe Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) recently released the “Denver Needs Assessment on Opioid Use,” which was filled with some shocking statistics surrounding the growing opioid abuse problem in the Mile High City.

Here’s a look at a few:

  • From 2000 to 2015, 10,552 Coloradans died of drug overdoses and opioid-related overdoses tripled during that same period.
  • In 2016, the Denver coroner’s office reported 173 overdose casualties, with 103 involving opioids and 50 of them connected to heroin. Last year, there were 201 overdose fatalities, with 110 tied to opioids.
  • In 2016, at least five clients of the Harm Reduction Action Center (HRAC), Colorado’s largest syringe exchange program, died of overdoses. In January 2017, during a two-week period, six HRAC clients overdosed.

As part of the analysis, the researchers interviewed 30 individuals, mostly homeless and aged 20 to 60, to better understand two main areas: “whether non-fatal overdose experiences served as motivators for accessing drug treatment, and the experience around the availability and accessibility of drug treatment and other services in the city,” according to DDPHE.

More than two-thirds of the participants in the report said that they had overdosed at least once, surviving often thanks to Narcan. And, unfortunately, these near-death experiences didn’t appear to have any influence on whether or not they decided to seek addiction treatment.

What did, however, were perceived barriers including lack of identification, cost of transportation, the distance between critical service providers, and unreliable information about service providers.

Opioid Addiction Treatment: What to Expect
So what does treatment look like for opioid addiction? It typically occurs over a period of three to 12 months, depending on the unique needs of the individual. Medical detox is often the first stop in order to help with withdrawal symptoms. After medical detox, treatment for opioid addiction may include:

  • Residential (inpatient) treatment, which typically lasts 28 days
  • Partial hospitalization or “day treatment”
  • Intensive outpatient (IOP)
  • Outpatient program

Treating Addiction in Boulder and Denver
If you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction or an opioid abuse disorder, NorthStar Transitions can help! Our treatment programs combine top clinical care with an inspirational environment to help people of all ages step into a life of recovery that’s more rewarding than they could have imagined. To learn more, call today: 303-625-6335.