Americans are now largely becoming concerned about the effects of prescription drugs that their physicians recommend to them for treating various ailments. Such feelings of apprehension have started stemming from reports of thousands of people availing prescription drug addiction treatment at various centers offering drug rehab help. Statistics published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) reveal how addiction to opioids is driving the drug overdose epidemic, with the majority of deaths being attributed to painkillers.
The rising number of opioid overdose cases has compelled authorities and health care providers to look at the problem more seriously. The “International Overdose Awareness Day” is observed on Aug. 31, every year, around the world to raise awareness about the fact that overdose death can be prevented. Federal agencies and physicians stress the need to take adequate steps that can help curb opioid epidemic in various affected communities.
While scores of people exhibit opioid drug addiction symptoms each year, it is necessary to focus on certain factors related to prescription medications:
- More people die of prescription drug abuse than traffic accidents: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in Nov. 2015 acknowledged the disastrous effects of opioid medicines on the lives of people. In a report titled “2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary,” the DEA stressed, “Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms (deaths).” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52,400 Americans died from drug overdose as against 38,300 people who had lost their lives in car crashes in 2015.
- Most teens receive their first quota of prescription drugs from friends or relatives: It’s shocking but true. An assessment of American teenagers reeling under the addictive effects of opioid medicines clearly shows the ease with which they had obtained their drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for teens), adolescents tend to misuse prescription drugs for myriad reasons, such as alleviating pain, to get high or feel at ease. After marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances by teenagers aged 14 years and above.
- Increasing hospitalizations each year for overdosing on pain relievers: According to a report by the CDC, deaths due to overdose on prescription pain relievers have gone up by four times since 1999. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. A study titled “National Trends in Hospitalizations for Opioid Poisonings Among Children and Adolescents, 1997 to 2012,” revealed that the number of American children and teenagers hospitalized for opioid overdose problems went up by more than two times from 1997 to 2012.
- Opioid abuse highest in rural America: Most overdose deaths arise due to non-medical use of painkillers. Misuse of opioids, especially without any medical certification, is a growing public health problem in the rural areas of the U.S. The CDC in its report titled “Vital Signs: Changes in Opioid Prescribing in the United States, 2006–2015” says that patients residing in rural areas were more likely to be prescribed narcotic painkillers.
Road to recovery
America needs to get rid of its long-standing opioid addiction problem. Notwithstanding recurring efforts of various federal agencies, coupled with health care advocates, the problem of opioid addiction persists with its rippling effects still being felt across the country. There is an ardent need to inform an increasing number of people about the adverse effects of substance abuse that affects not only those addicted to drugs but also their family members and loved ones.
If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction to opioids or any other drug, the 24/7 Recovery Helpline can help. Call us at our 24-hour drug helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online for more information about a drug treatment rehab center near you.