By: ATSI Admin
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Managing Prescriptions Can Help End Opioid Addiction
Over the past several years, New Jersey has been battling high rates of opiate drug abuse. The Garden State is becoming an infamous prescription hotspot, and these powerful drugs often lead users to try heroin. Statistics covering the past 10 years have been grim, but new programs are aimed at putting an end to this very concerning issue.
When prescription painkillers were first introduced, there was little concern that these drugs would be abused and lead to so many cases of addiction. Doctors were pleased to ease their patients’ pain, and those suffering were grateful for the relief. But things have completely changed over the years, and today’s doctors must be so careful that the drugs they prescribe do not become abused.
Our society demands fast action and instant gratification. Many who want relief from pain or illness are quick to pop a pill to take away the discomfort, use a friend’s medication or rush to the doctor for a new prescription. Unfortunately, many of the pills that doctors prescribe can lead to addiction if they’re not used properly. Albert Greenwood is a NJ-based psychiatrist who recently posted on NJ.com, “Many relatively minor injuries, such as sprains and strains, are now being treated with opioids. This short-term treatment can transform itself into long-term opioid dependency.”
Prescription Drug Statistics
Greenwood also says the number of deaths from prescription pain relievers in the past 10 years was four times higher than those from cocaine and heroin combined. Using drugs like oxycodone for short-term pain relief has spiraled into a major healthcare crisis. Sales of legally prescribed oxycodone exceeded $2.7 billion in 2012.
In 2010, nearly 60 percent of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States were attributed to prescription drugs. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the death rate from prescription painkiller overdoses rose 415 percent among women and 265 percent among men in just over a decade.
Curbing Prescription Drug Use
The prescription drug problem has become such a problem that the federal government has taken major steps to shut down pill mills and the unlawful sale of opioids. With this recent crackdown there are fewer options for drug abusers and dealers. Even pharmacies and emergency room doctors are doing their part by participating in prescription drug database programs. It will take the collaborative efforts of the government, doctors, pharmacies and treatment centers to make a difference.