According to a new study by the journal Lancet, researchers from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, Australia found that prescription painkillers cause more deaths and illnesses per year worldwide than marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The problem is at epidemic proportions in the United States says the published journal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 12 million people abuse prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons in the United States and more than 14,000 people overdose from them each year.
More than fifteen million people around the world are addicted to opiate painkillers such as Oxycodone or Hydrocodone.. This is not surprising due to the strength of these narcotics and how heavily marketed they are. According to the study, 78,000 people overdosed in 2010 with 55 percent of them dying from painkillers!
Nicholas Kardaras, PhD, an addiction specialist and clinical assistant professor of health science at Stony Brook University in New York said, “Opiates are easy to overdose on. When you take too many, your respiration slows down and your breathing stops. It’s very easy to reach that tipping point.”
Parents need to keep a vigilant eye on their prescription painkillers, even going as far as locking them in a safe. If children want to experiment with prescription painkillers, they will start by looking in your medicine cabinet first. This has shown to be a very common gateway for teens. If you have prescription painkillers that are no longer used and need to be discarded, contact your local Health Department or Police Station. It is not recommended to flush prescription medications of any kind down the drain or toilet as it had been proven to affect the drinking water. Contact your Healthy Department, or Police Station to find the right place to drop off the unused medication.
The issue of prescription painkillers is an all out epidemic in the United States. Many measures are being taken to help the cause but researchers believe it is going to get much worse before it gets better. Dr. Kardaras said, “In decades past, doctors prescribed opioids mainly for cancer patients.” “Now opioids are also commonly used for chronic non-cancer pain, especially chronic back pain. The U.S. has become over medicated.” This over medicated society we live in will need all the help it can get in the future. Do whatever you can to educate the people willing to listen about this horrible plague affecting our country.