DENVER – The opioid epidemic President Donald Trump has vowed to fight is hitting suburbia the hardest, according to a new study by County Health Rankings.
The data shows overdose deaths in the suburban areas of large metros are now outpacing all other communities.
Some call it a “silent” epidemic.
John Mabry is a strategic partnership manager for Addiction Campuses – the rehab network that helped him start his longest sobriety streak, currently at 15 months.
Mabry, who is married and has three kids, struggled with an addiction to painkillers and alcohol for years after a serious car crash in college.
“I never thought that would be me,” Mabry said from Addiction Campuses’ Nashville headquarters. “I always thought it was a homeless person or someone living under the bridge. Reality is I am an alcoholic or addict and people like me are struggling just as much and even worse.”
Mabry says families in the suburbs often don’t talk about addiction because it is an uncomfortable topic, and they have better access to health care and insurance to start taking opioids.
“It’s a conversation we haven’t been willing to have out in the suburbs and the part of town I grew up in,” Mabry said.
County Health Rankings’ study shows overall “premature” deaths from all causes have risen steadily and sharply since 2012 after years of major declines.
The most dramatic increase in premature deaths are from drug overdoses.
Mabry says his own brother died from an overdose.
He says the most important thing he can do is have an open and honest conversation with his young kids about how dangerous addiction is.
Mabry says drug dealers are now moving to the suburbs from the city because they’re finding more clients.
Addiction Campuses has a 24/7 hotline for anyone needing help across the country at (888) 614-2251.