A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that binge drinking is on the rise for U.S. adults, and now prescription painkiller overdoses appear to be at an epidemic level.
The CDC report on prescription painkiller overdoses revealed some surprising statistics over the past few years, showing a clear problem with abuse of painkillers. In fact, “the number of overdose deaths is now greater than those of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined,” according to the report.
The report added that the amount of pills sold to doctors’ offices, pharmacies and hospitals quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, and some states are having issues with doctors freely giving out pills.
Easy access to painkillers can be an issue. According to the report, “in 2010, about 12 million Americans (age 12 or older) reported nonmedical use of prescription painkillers in the past year.”
Compared to 1999, the number of prescription painkiller overdoses is phenomenal. Almost 15,000 people in 2008 in the United States were killed by overdosing versus the 4,000 killed in 1999.
Prescription painkiller misuse could lead to addiction, abuse and even death in the case of overdosing, and this health issue can be linked to mental health as well.
In fact, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, abuse of prescription painkillers can actually be considered a mental disorder in some cases. There is a substance dependence disorder and different opioid use disorders that some people can develop.
Dr. Mark Kraus, an addiction medicine specialist and diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, said in an email that it is uncertain why the rates of prescription painkiller overdose are rising in the United States.
However, people who do have issues with misusing or abusing prescription painkillers do have resources available to them. For example, there are medications like Suboxone Film, counseling and even websites like www.TurnToHelp.com for patients to turn to in order to overcome dependence.