Opioid Tablets

This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. 

Reducing the rate of overdose deaths is going to take a lot more than just dealing with opioids, according to recent findings.

At the same time opioid deaths were rising, Pew Charitable Trusts said this week that the rate of overdose deaths caused by psychostimulants was also going up. Psychostimulants are drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and certain prescription drugs. They have a dramatic affect on the body's central nervous system.

"What happens when you ingest a psychostimulant is they increase the brain activity - people often report feeling a rush or a feeling of euphoria," Pew Charitable Trusts Substance Use Project Director Beth Connolly said. "They increase your blood pressure, your blood flow, your breathing and your blood sugar."

Other recent findings:

-Of more than 70,000 overdose deaths in 2017, one-third involved psychostimulants.

-From 2016 to 2017, death rates involving cocaine and psychostimulants each increased by about one-third across all demographic groups and census areas.

-The highest rate of cocaine-involved deaths in 2017 occurred among African-Americans.

-In 2017, about half of psychostimulant-related deaths and three-fourths of cocaine-involved deaths also involved opioids.

Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent nonpartisan research and policy organization, delivered to Delaware a set of recommendations to guide The First State in its efforts to curb the opioid epidemic. Recommendations included some systemic changes, expanded treatment options and devoting more attention and resources to people in the correctional system.

According to Connolly, that framework could help the state move forward if psychostimulants become even more of a problem.

There is also the matter of insurance coverage.

"Like any chronic disease, individuals may need that treatment for a very long period of time - perhaps their whole life."

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.