Prescription painkillers are often abused by those who get their hands on them without a prescription. In some cases, friends and family who have access to your bathroom may find them in your cabinet and take a few for recreational use. This is a growing problem with young adults and it is becoming evident that many of those addicted to prescription painkillers started by abusing a family or friend's prescription. Many discussions are taking place on the risks and dangers of opiates and how it's important to keep opioid painkillers locked up out of the reach of others. Keeping opiates out of reach is important to help stop the spread of the opiate epidemic we are facing.
It is no surprise that prescription painkillers are the culprit in many drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2010, 2 million people reported using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons for the first time within the past year. That is nearly 5,500 people taking opiates without a prescription per day! These statistics are scary and there should be more education to teach the public about the dangers of abusing opiate medications. The truth is that the numbers of overdose deaths contributed to opiates continues to climb. In the county I reside, (Ocean County, NJ) there has been 102 overdoses in 2013 so far. This number has almost doubled from 53 in 2012. This is a terrible trend plaguing towns both large and small across the US and Canada.
One of the scariest realities of the abuse of prescription painkillers is how easily it is to overdose. If someone gets an Oxycodone and is unaware of the strength they may be taking a lethal dose with ONE pill. Yes, one Oxycodone 80mg pill is the equivalent of taking 16 Percocet pills at once. Now think how easily an overdose can occur when you realize that the dosage is so high per pill. A lot of times, these large dosages are for people in chronic pain who have built up a tolerance to painkillers over years. (Usually cancer patients, or those who are in extreme pain). A young adult who gets a hold of a pill that they want to try can easily overdose within an hour of taking it. Many people do not realize how strong some opiates are.
All prescription medications should be locked up in a safe. If you have children in your home, do not tell them what medications you are taking. The information of what medications are in your home can quickly become a topic of discussion between teenagers and their friends. You may think your child will never take your medications and you may be right, but their friends may want to try them. Do not take the risk of these medications falling into the wrong hands, as it may end deadly.