America’s battle with prescription drugs has reached an astounding new height, and there appears to be no end in sight. The statistics show that prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem, and it’s quickly getting out of control.
In fact, the CDC says the problem has reached epidemic proportions. There isn’t a single section of society that prescription drug abuse hasn’t touched. Most people know at least one person who has battled an addiction to prescription drugs.
An Epidemic, Prescription Drug Abuse
Each year, thousands of individuals die from an overdose on prescription drugs. However, these individuals didn’t purchase heroin from some guy on a street corner. They didn’t purchase brown flakes from a friend of a friend. These individuals prematurely lost their lives because of legal, prescribed medications. Many people who have died from an overdose were prescribed legitimate prescriptions. These medications are made in a state-of-the-art laboratory, which is regulated by the FDA.
The prescriptions were supplied by certified medical doctors and distributed from a legitimate pharmacy. What makes this whole story extremely scary is that these individuals are not a bunch of anomalies. According to recent statistics, a person dies about every 20 minutes from painkillers.
Every single day, about 100 people die from overdoing on narcotic painkillers. Since 1990, the number of people who die every year from prescription painkillers has tripled. Today, there are millions of individuals who are addicted to prescription painkillers.
In 2010, surveys revealed over 12 million individuals who reported using painkillers that weren’t prescribed to them. Put simply, these individuals abused powerful narcotics because of the pleasurable feelings associated with them. In 2009, about 37,500 individuals died from a drug overdose. This number surpasses the number of people killed by automobile accidents, which is a scary fact for many experts. The federal government has said that prescription drug abuse is an issue of epidemic proportions, and it has prompted the government to create a combat plan.
What is Being Done About It?
It was only a matter of time before something had to be done. The government plan was created by Obama, and it aims to increase state-based monitoring of prescription drugs. It requires physicians to obtain additional education, which is based around the safe prescribing of opioid medications. The plan also aims to reduce the number of pill mills while greatly reducing a practice known as doctor shopping. The approach is quite different from the one taken by law enforcement agencies. Everyone shares some amount of responsibility for protecting individuals from the grasps of addiction.
When compared with the typical addiction stories portrayed in Hollywood movies, the prescription drug epidemic is quite different, which is why it requires a completely different solution.
One of the biggest problems is that most people believe prescription drugs are much safer than illicit drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. People seem to think prescription drugs are safer because they’re prescribed by a qualified physician. Most people believe illicit drugs purchased off of the street are far more dangerous, and it’s this belief that can quickly lead to a fatal overdose. The biggest challenge faced by those who want change is reducing the distribution of harmful prescription drugs.
It’s a very unique challenge and requires a unique solution. Law enforcement is always pursuing cases that involve people selling prescription drugs, but many people actually need legitimate prescription drugs. Many physicians prescribe painkillers to people that need them, and the physicians have the best intentions, but in the end, a large portion of these drugs end up on the black market.
It’s not practical to eliminate all prescribing of these medications, but there must be a comprehensive screening performed before the medications are prescribed. Put simply, the holes in patient data need to be filled, which prevents drugs from ending up in the hands of people that seek them for the wrong reasons.
The Problem is Complex
Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is a national problem, and it’s not a problem that is just going to go away on its own. It’s a complex problem and requires complex solutions. In most cases, each individual state is fighting the battle in its own unique way. A number of new laws and regulations have been released, which are attempts to fight the issue. Although great strides have been made against the issue, there appears to be no end in sight to America’s prescription drug problem.
However, there is hope for every individual. Anyone who wants to fight their addiction to prescription drugs should seek inpatient care. It’s one of the most effective types of treatment, and it offers several benefits over alternative treatments. Some of the common benefits of inpatient care are comfortable housing, nutritional meals and professional help.