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Over 1 in 3 Americans Was Given An Opioid Prescription in 2015

CDC Overdose deaths statistics for opioid prescriptions

CDC Overdose deaths statistics for opioid prescriptions

Level of Opioid Prescriptions Never Seen Before

A recent study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that more than one out of three Americans can been prescribed an opioid pain killer in 2015.  This is in spite of growing concerns about prescription drug abuse, addiction and over dose deaths.  The report indicated that in 2015 nearly 92 million adults in the U.S., or about 38 percent of the population, was prescribed a drug such as OxyContin or Percocet.

Level of Opioid Overdose Deaths Never Seen Before

The trajectory of overdose deaths follows the number of opioid prescriptions.  In fact more than 40 people die each day from overdoses.  In spite of the CDC publishing “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain” so many doctors continue to over-rely on opioids for the treatment of chronic pain with little supervision or monitoring of the patient.

And Yet a Seemingly High Level of Indifference

Imagine the outcry there would be if 40 people a day were dying from a certain brand of vitamin supplement, or diabetes medication.  There would be a national outrage.  The FDA and other branches of government would step in to put an end to this kind of needless suffering and loss.  But society tends to view drug addicts as shady characters with little or no value to society.  The view the opioid or opiate addict as a junkie living in the shadows.  The truth is few addicts resemble the stereotypical junkie, more accurately the typical opioid addicted person is your neighbor, the girl working at the dry cleaners, a teacher, or IT professional. What they have in common is usually a temporary or chronic pain condition where they are prescribed powerful pain killing drugs that are highly addictive and often times before they even realize it they have become addicted.

What We Must Do

We must combat the notion that addicts are nothing more than hopeless dope-fiends and educate the public that more accurately, the typical opioid addict is an ordinary person who after repeated doses of highly addictive drugs becomes addicted.  And we must educate the fact that so many doctors are failing to properly supervise and monitor their patients taking these powerful and addictive drugs, not to mention how over prescribed they are.  We must view addicts as victims who are in need of detox, treatment and medical care, and not treated with shame.

No one is hopeless and all are worth helping

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