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23 November
Prescription drug abuse– Part 1: Growing public health crisis
By APAH Team

Prescription drug abuse– Part 1: Growing public health crisis

The number of deaths due to prescription drug abuse has reached new heights in the United States. In March 2014, the U.S. Attorney General’s report confirmed that the increasing deaths from prescription opioid overdoses were an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”

Nearly 78 people died every day due to opioid prescription painkillers overdose between 2000 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Looking at the high rate of abuse and death, it will be worthwhile to take a look at the statistics related to prescription drug abuse in this four-part series, “Prescription drug abuse.”

Opioid abuse

According to the CDC, more than three in five drug overdose deaths occurs due to opioid painkillers. Opioids are the substances that affect the central nervous system (CNS) or specific receptors in the brain to reduce pain. Deaths from opioid overdose, including from prescription opioids and heroin, have quadrupled since 1999. It killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, and over half of these deaths occurred due to prescription opioids, according to the CDC.

When we talk about accidental deaths in the U.S., opioid overdose tops the list. About 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2014 in the US. Opioid addiction is the frontrunner, as 18,893 overdose deaths occurred due to prescription pain relievers, and more than 10,500 overdose deaths due to heroin in 2014, according to CDC.

Effect on special populations

The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) published the following data related to prescription drug abuse:

Adolescents (Aged 12 to 17)

In 2014, nearly 467,000 adolescents, aged 12 to 17, were current nonmedical users of pain relievers. Out of that population, nearly 168,000 had an addiction to prescription opioids.

  • According to 2014 estimates, about 28,000 adolescents used heroin in the past year, and about 16,000 were current users of heroin. Additionally, nearly 18,000 adolescents had a heroin use
  • People are often unaware of the addictive properties of painkillers. It has been found that most of the adolescents who used painkillers were introduced to it by a friend or a relative.
  • The U.S. healthcare providers recommended 259 million opioid painkillers in 2012, which roughly translates to one bottle of pills to each adult in the

Women

  • Women usually suffer from more chronic pain, and therefore are given prescription painkillers, offered higher doses and use them longer than men. They may become dependent more quickly than men.
  • Heroin overdose deaths tripled in the last few years. From 2010 through 2013, female heroin overdoses rise was from 0.4 to 1.2 per 100,000.

Steps to be taken to reduce deaths

It is important to raise awareness regarding the lethality of prescription painkillers. Many people often think that nonmedical use of painkillers won’t be serious, but they end up addicted. Painkillers are lethal when used with other substances and this knowledge should be spread among the masses. The people also need to understand that these drugs are as dangerous as street drugs.

Seek treatment to overcome addiction

Prescription drug abuse can hit anyone and while it is important to stay away from addiction, treatment must be sought in case of addiction and abuse. If you are addicted to prescription opioids, seek immediate treatment from prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona.

Chat online with the treatment advisors of the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline to know more about prescription abuse treatment centers in Arizona. Dial our 24/7 helpline number at 866-692-3563 for more details.


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