Prescription drug addiction has become one of the most concerning crisis issues in the United States. Truly, since the turn of the century, substance abuse has been a huge worry for a lot of people with the vast majority of Americans being incredibly concerned and worried about what could happen in the near future if major action is not taken to address and rectify this issue soon.
When it comes to addiction, the shocking truth is that, of all the substances out there that Americans use and abuse, none are more addictive than prescription drugs. By far, opiate prescription drugs garner the most addiction and the greatest substance abuse crisis issues of them all. These drugs, though they are meant to help, actually cause a lot more damage than good in a large percentage of those who take them. Furthermore, because it is known now that people can take them to get high, a lot of individuals (especially young adults) end up taking these drugs whether they have a prescription for them or not.
Prescription pain medication is rapidly becoming the single most addictive drug in the entire nation with more and more people using it and abusing it each and every month. Roughly about a hundred and twenty Americans abuse this drug each and every single day for the first time. The key problem is that these types of drugs have a lot of morphine in them, the same, basic chemical component that is in heroin. Truly, what ends up happening then is that people just end up abusing both of them and going back and forth between the two depending on which one is more available to them at the time.
Facts and Statistics on Prescription Drug Addiction
Nothing shows the true severity of the issue and the actual, real truth behind addiction quite like the actual facts and statistics on it. The following information was garnered from studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For some context on prescription drug abuse:
- Opiate-based pain reliever drugs are scourging the nation in terms of addiction statistics. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named opiate pain reliever addiction as an official Epidemic in the United States. To show the effects of this, it was recorded that between 2001 and 2013 there was a threefold increase in the total number of deaths from opiate pain reliever drug overdoses.
- As of the year 2012, deaths as a result of overdosing on legal, available, and supposedly safe opiate analgesics (pain relief drugs) have been at an all-time high. In 2014, the total deaths that occurred as a result of overdosing on these misleading drugs topped seventeen thousand, higher than any year in history ever.
- The number of drug overdoses that are occurring in the United States every year is climbing rapidly. Between the years 2001 and 2010 for example, drug poisoning deaths in the U.S. almost doubled in number to now measure over 17,000 deaths in the year 2010 alone. The truly saddening thing about these deaths is that the number one killer was opioid pain reliever drugs. These were drugs that were prescribed and bought legally, yet they killed more Americans than heroin, cocaine, and crystal meth combined.
- Opiate drugs are currently the number one killer in terms of drug and alcohol abuse worldwide. When one puts the numbers of deaths from opiate pain relievers and heroin combined, the numbers dwarf any other overdose statistic by thousands of deaths. According to a 2008 report from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, opiates were involved in four out of every five drug-related deaths in Europe, and opiate deaths account for a little over half of all drug and alcohol-related deaths in the United States.
- Prescription drug abuse in the United States has come to be a critical issue, particularly amongst young adults. For example, in 2005 four and a half million teenagers (from the ages of 12 to 17) in the United States admitted to having taken prescription, opiate-based painkillers recreationally. More than two and a half million took a prescription stimulant such as Ritalin or Adderall recreationally. Well over two million such young adults abused over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup.
- In the year 2012, it was estimated that 493,000 persons of the age of twelve or older used a prescription pain reliever non-medically for the first time. This unfortunately averages out to about 1,350 new pain drug abusers every single day in the United States.
- As of the year of 2012, overdose deaths involving prescription opioid analgesics, which are essentially medications used to treat pain, have increased to almost 17,000 deaths a year in the United States. They used to be relatively negligible, but now they kill more Americans than all other drugs combined.
- Nearly 9 out of every 10 poisoning deaths in the United States are actually caused by drugs, (both illicit and prescribed). True enough, between 2001 and 2010, drug poisoning deaths in the U.S. almost doubled to now measure nearly 17,000 deaths in 2010, and then over twenty-five thousand in 2015. Moreover, opioid analgesic pain relievers were involved in more drug poisoning deaths than any other drug at all, including heroin and cocaine both.
- Of those Americans who started using and abusing drugs in the last year, more than a quarter began by abusing a prescription medications, (26.0 percent, including 17.0 percent with pain relievers, 4.1 percent with tranquilizers, 3.6 percent with stimulants, and 1.3 percent with sedatives). Alcohol and marijuana accounted for a lot too, and other illicit drugs made up for the rest of it.
How to Triumph Against Prescription Drug Addiction
There are two ways to attack the OxyContin addiction nightmare in this nation. The first is with prevention, the second is with rehabilitation. When the two are combined one has a very effective and very workable system for battling against and winning again addiction. First, prevention is engaged to stop more individuals in any given area from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. The next step is to engage in successful rehabilitation itself to effectively help those who are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol to beat their habits and to achieve a lifetime of sobriety and everlasting recovery. When this is done everyone wins.
With a drug problem as bad as it is in the nation currently, these types of programs and approaches really could not come any sooner. Now more than ever the addiction problem is going from bad to worse and from bad to worse all over again. Now is the time for Americans all across the nation, whether they personally struggle with addiction or not, to rise up and insist that something be done about the addiction epidemic that has struck the nation and to insist that something be done about it and soon too.