Rampant in the streets and households of Connecticut are specific opioids either prescribed or privately obtained. In the span of 15 years the nation has seen dramatic increases in death by overdose from opioid prescription pills, and likewise, heroin. The past three years alone have seen an increase each year in deaths and the number is projected to keep escalating with each coming year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths by drug overdoses have increased 137% since the year 2000. In the year 2014 there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which is higher than any previous year on record. Among these deaths the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone have more overdose deaths on record than any other opioid.

Prescription drugs are not alone in this remarkable phase, as heroin deaths have tripled in the past fours years. These numbers and deaths result, according to the CDC, from dependence on the opioids brought about by prescriptions. Users who are prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone develop abusive tendencies and when they use up their script, the turn to the street alternative.

Since 1999 the prescribing of opioids has quadrupled, which reflects the occurring issue. The CDC states that on average, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers in the United States everyday.

Since these numbers have been increasing, State and Federal budgets have attributed to the development of prescription monitoring methods. By installing programs and policies, like the Affordable Car Act, and increased amount of prescription holders have access to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. However, every patient and opioid prescribed person can take the steps possible to avoid abusing their medicine. Although addiction is sometimes hard to spot, family members of prescription opioid holders should do what it takes to prevent their loved ones from over-consuming.

Many users keep their prescription pills around, post treatment, just in case. This is, in fact, an addictive tendency and the “safety blanket” of holding onto the pills can lead to a serious underlying issue and should not go overlooked.

If any step is the right step, it’s to find help and not become one of the increasing numbers the country is witnessing at the hands of opioids and various other controlled substances.