July 24, 2018
Demi Lovato's Possible Heroin Overdose Focuses Attention Back On National Opioid Epidemic

Demi Lovato's friends, family, and fans were stunned to hear that Lovato had been rushed to the hospital following an apparent heroin overdose. It sounds like Demi is now in "stable" condition at a Los Angeles hospital, reported Deadline.

Demi was reportedly given Narcan when she was found, which is a nasal spray that can save lives of people who have overdosed on opioids, detailed People.

Lovato has been public and open about her past and current struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as her mental health issues. The thing is, the star's addiction battle is something that many Americans also struggle with.

In particular, the opioid crisis in America has been dubbed an epidemic. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that over 115 people die every day as a result of opioid overdose. These include the misuse of prescription pills, heroin, and cheaper alternatives like synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

Many of the people who become addicted to opioids begin using them as legitimate doctor's prescriptions. However, because the opioids are so strong, many patients find that they crave the drug even after their prescriptions run out. This can lead people to pursue heroin, which can then turn into using cheaper alternatives like fentanyl. This is a downward spiral, with fentanyl being the most dangerous substance, as it can be fatal even in tiny quantities. Street drugs like heroin are unregulated, which means that people can unwittingly take fentanyl-laced drugs without realizing it, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

An estimated 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids end up misusing them, while 8 to 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder. Also, 80 percent of heroin users reported using opioids for the first time because their doctor prescribed it to them.

The recent increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths is staggering. For example, opioid overdoses increased by 70 percent in the Midwest between July 2016 and September 2017. Many rural areas in America have been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

People who suffer from substance use disorder can find help at treatment centers. The first step is usually detox, followed by inpatient and/or outpatient programs. These programs offer mental health counseling alongside physical treatment for addiction.

WebMD gives advice to people who would like to find a treatment center. They say that people should get a referral from someone who is familiar with their medical history, whether it's a primary care doctor or an addiction specialist. Some suggest searching for local treatment options first, and considering not-for-profit centers. Also, make sure that the program is accredited and reputable.

If you need help with your substance use disorder or mental health, you can call the free SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It's available 24/7, 365 days a year, and information is available in English and in Spanish.