An August 22, 2017, NPR article states: “To get a sense of how severe the opioid crisis is in the U.S., you can look at the number of fatal overdoses — more than 33,000 in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means, on average, 91 people are dying after overdosing on opioids each day. And for every fatal overdose, there are believed to be roughly 30 nonfatal overdoses.
“Clinicians and researchers trying to get a handle on the epidemic look at those nonfatal experiences as opportunities to jump in and figure out whether there is overprescribing going on or whether the patient needs help getting treatment for an addiction. But a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests such interventions don’t happen often enough.”
A major impediment, according to this study, is that hospital emergency departments aren’t set up to adequately address the psychological issues associated with addiction.