Study shows drug overdose deaths up - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Study shows drug overdose deaths up

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A new study released from the Centers for Disease Control shows drug overdose deaths in U.S. has more than doubled.

Mike Hester, a therapist at the Community Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau, works with people with substance abuse disorders.

"What you're having then is it's becoming more available," Hester said. "A lot of things can lead to addiction."

Addictions that can turn deadly.

From 1999 to 2012 CDC statistics show the number of deaths rose nearly 150 percent to 41,502.

To put it into perspective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 8,000 less people died in U.S. roadway accidents in the same year.

Cheaper, harder drugs may play a factor in the spike.

"It's my understanding heroin is becoming cheaper than cannabis," Hester said.

Lower price could mean higher usage.

"As the person builds tolerance they begin to take more and more," Hester said.

But another drug could come straight from your doctor.

"One of the biggest drug dealers out there is folks grandparents,” Hester said. “We have a lot of young people going through grandma and grandpa's medicine cabinets."

He says they are taking pain killers and other drugs they can use to get high.

The country's rate of deaths from overdoses is slowing according to the study.

Though many states like Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee have rates above the 13.1 deaths per 100,000 national average.

But there is hope and it all starts with knowledge.

"Being able to recognize there's a problem. And I think the main thing is following directions with pain medication," Hester said.

Anyone struggling with addiction can call the Crisis Hotline at 1-800-356-5395.

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