AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Drug overdoses continue to be the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
According to the most recent report from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, more than 55,000 people die each year from an overdose.
Opioids play the biggest part in these statistics, with more than 30,000 deaths attributed to both prescribed medication and illegal opioids, such as heroin.
In response to this recent epidemic, doctors are prescribing less pain medication and using new methods such as take home Naloxone (an overdose reversal drug) and the prescription take-back program, to greatly reduce the number of deaths.
Local doctors said even though Naloxone is effective, it's still not enough.
"There has been thousands of people in the United States, the last figure I saw was in the 25,000 range of people who have been woken up after an overdose of opioids," said Medical Director at the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, Dr. Thomas Martin.
Even though a doctor's ability to treat addictions and overdoses have improved, drugs have also gotten stronger.
Recently, fentanyl, a much more powerful opioid, has been added to heroin and opium.
This is making illegal drugs stronger and more lethal.
"We're seeing death rates escalating just this year," Martin said. "In some counties they have doubled, and I don't think we have hit the peak yet."