The greatest addiction problems that this nation faces lately can be attributed to painkiller abuse and addiction. Without a doubt, this is the worst of the worst when it comes to modern-day American drug addiction. In fact, the only substance that creates more devastation, more loss of life, and more addiction, in general, is alcohol.
Surprisingly, the two substances that cause more damage than all other substances combined, are both entirely legal and acceptable today. Yet the crisis goes on with these drugs and shows no sign of ending anytime soon. The solution? There are many.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have all been particularly worried about prescription drug addiction. The CDC had this to say about the painkiller abuse and addiction crisis:
In all of the years that the United States has been a sovereign country and especially for as long as we have been monitoring addiction problems, no substance abuse issue has ever gone beyond that of a “crisis”. During 2009, prescription drug abuse and addiction was the first drug in the history of the nation to advance to an “epidemic.” This drug is the most concerning one that there is now, and it will probably stay that way. We are more worried about this than any other substance in all truth. Given the sheer speed in which the addiction problem has been growing when it comes to prescription drugs, if nothing is done about it soon, then by the year 2030, roughly a fifth of the entire American population over the age of twelve will be addicted to some form of prescription drug.”
In decades of battling addiction, our nation has never seen anything quite like this. Prescription drug abuse seems to be here to stay unless we do something about it. Perhaps the saddest thing about prescription painkiller addiction is just how popular it is among our youth.
In some regions of the country teens choose prescription drugs over marijuana as their gateway drug. This is concerning because prescription drugs are far more dangerous and deadly for all age groups. One part of the problem has to do with easy availability of painkillers. Young people can find them in their parents or grandparent’s medicine cabinet. Also, many of their friends gain access to the drugs in the same manner. The abundance and easy availability are shocking.
The Facts on Painkiller Abuse and Addiction
Prescription drug use and abuse is an epidemic, and it has been for some years. This article does not intend to defame or to incriminate anyone when it comes to pill abuse. Instead, this article seeks to inform and to educate and to let people know just how dangerous and deadly prescription drug abuse is in the United States today.
Awareness must be raised on this issue, or it will never get adequately addressed. Today, prescription drug abuse is one of the worst problems that we have, but no one’s talking about it. Trump and Hillary still argue about marijuana, when, in reality, prescription drugs will be the downfall of the nation long before marijuana.
Thankfully though, some organizations have tried to raise awareness and get the word out on these issues. These are organizations include:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The Trust for American Health (TAH)
These groups work together to provide much of the statistical data and cruel yet valid evidence on this genuine crisis.
The sale of painkillers has increased by over 300% since 2001.
The result is that addiction and substance abuse involving this drug has also grown exponentially. Tens of millions of Americans use prescription medications non-medically every year.
Almost 3 out of every four prescription overdoses are caused by opiate-based painkillers.
In 2009 for example, 1 in 3 prescription painkiller overdoses was caused by methadone alone, a drug that is supposed to help people get off of other drugs. What often happens with Methadone though is that people inevitably end up getting addicted to it instead.
The number of individuals receiving treatment for addiction to painkillers and sedatives has doubled since 2002.
This is now the nation’s largest addiction crisis according to the CDC. It is certainly the fastest growing addiction crisis in the nation. It accounts for more trouble since the turn of the century than addictions to all other substances.
The rate of the current marijuana use among males at the age of 12 to 17 declined.
It went from 9.1 percent in 2002 to 6.9 percent in 2006. It then increased between 2006 and 2011 (9.0 percent). The rate decreased from 2011 to 2012 (7.5 percent) and remained stable in 2013 (7.9 percent). Among females aged 12 to 17, the rate of current marijuana use decreased from 7.2 percent in 2002 and 2003 to 6.2 percent in 2013. Unfortunately for females, pill abuse and psychotropic drug abuse is getting worse.
Among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, the rate of current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs stabilized.
In 2013 the rate (4.8 percent), was similar to the rates in 2011 (5.0 percent) and 2012 (5.3 percent). It was lower than the rates in 2002 to 2010 (ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 percent). The rate of the current non-medical use of pain relievers among young adults in 2013, (3.3 percent), was lower than the rates in 2012 (3.8 percent) and in 2002 to 2010 (ranging from 4.1 to 5.0 percent). But, it was similar to the rate in 2011 (3.6 percent).
The overall rate of current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among males aged 12 to 17 decreased.
From a high of 3.7 percent in 2003 to 2.0 percent in 2013. Among females of the age of 12 to 17, the rate of current non-medical use of psycho-therapeutic drugs decreased from a high of 4.4 percent in 2002 to 2.4 percent in 2013, including a decline from 3.2 percent in 2012, but then coming with a staggering increase in 2014 and again in 2015.
Addressing Painkiller Abuse and Addiction with Rehabilitation
Prescription drug addiction is devastating and harmful. It causes endless havoc in the nation. More harm is done in the U.S. from prescription drugs in five years than cocaine accomplished in five decades. However, prescription drug abuse is not a permanent affliction.
The key to beating a painkiller abuse and addiction is with the help of an inpatient addiction treatment center. With effective inpatient treatment addicts can go free from their addiction and lead sober lives. This must be the current focus because only with inpatient rehab will painkiller abuse and addiction ever cease to be such a serious issue.