Mortality rate rising for white, middle-aged Americans

Every other age and ethnic group has a decreasing mortality rate. For white, middle-aged Americans, the death rate is rising.

It is not the result of heart disease or diabetes either, but from a troubling increase in suicides, liver disease caused by alcoholism and heroin and opioid overdose.

Heroin barely more expensive than cigarettes

In follow up to the recent staggering overdose count in Washington County, the Washington Post compared the cost of a single stamp bag to a pack of cigarettes, noting how a flooded market keeps heroin costs low.

High numbers of Americans suffer from severe pain

The National Institutes of Health recently funded one of the largest studies on pain, and the results are that as many as 25 million Americans experience pain on a daily basis, and 40 million have severe pain.

But doctors and researchers acknowledge that pain is difficult to treat, because it doesn’t encompass merely physical pain; emotional and cognitive pain are factors that can’t be soothed easily by medication.

Feds launch initiative to curb opioid use

Drug overdose deaths involving opioid painkillers nearly quadrupled nationally from 1999 to 2013, and heroin deaths increased 39 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] statistics.

Pennsylvania’s had at least 3,000 heroin and opiate overdoses since 2009, and is estimated to have the third highest number of heroin users in the nation. The full toll, however, is hard to pinpoint because accurate overdose stats do not exist.

Unfortunately, drug treatment programs that can help the addicted are also vastly underfunded.

How accurate are state heroin overdose statistics?

Heroin abuse has reached crisis levels in the commonwealth and across the Northeast.

But determining the full scope of the problem is proving harder than one might think.

Without a single standard in Pennsylvania, the state's 67 county coroners and medical examiners operate under their own individual set of rules to determine if a drug overdose was caused by heroin.