Opiate overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. It has surpassed deaths by car accidents for the first time. The reason that so many deaths are being caused by opiate overdoses is very complex. Addiction, lack of education, and an influx of painkillers and heroin has created the perfect storm.
Before the late 1990's, opiates were illegal to be prescribed for non-cancer related pain in the majority of states. They were not even an option back then because they were known to be extremely dangerous and addictive. Something changed in the late 90's, when there was a push for leniency. People did not feel that they should have to deal with pain any longer and this push was right around the same time as the release of Oxycontin. Oxycontin was a powerful oxycodone extended opiate release medication that was said to be formulated for cancer pain. This medication became very popular with physicians as well as with hydrocodone and Percocet. The demand for pain medications and the release of new opioid medications created the mess we are currently facing.
It is no surprise that the leniency of prescribing opiate painkillers led to the over-prescribing of opiates. Hydrocodone is now the most heavily prescribed medication in the country over all of medications. That tells you something right there. Has America become more hurt or feeling more pain then in the past? Most likely no, but in a society that wants everything instantly, no one wants to wait for the ailment to go away. They want the pain gone now, and when they visit their doctor after paying high health insurance premiums and co-pays they expect prescription medications.. This new way of thinking has landed many legit patients on medications that they should never have been prescribed in the first place. They begin to use the medication as prescribed and quickly start to abuse it. Before they know it, they are buying opiates on the street because they tolerance has built and they need more opiates to get high as well as keep the withdrawals away.
It is extremely important for parents of elementary school students to start educating themselves on opiates. You may be thinking that they are too young to face drugs. This is true for the most part, but statistics show that most kids are being approached with drugs by 7th grade. The most dangerous part about these drugs is that they can be found in almost any medicine cabinet. When abused at a young age, especially teenagers who usually weigh less than adults, can easily overdose on opiates. Teaching your children about prescription painkillers should be a priority. You may think that this will never happen to your baby, but parents are burying their children every day that thought the same thing.
If you would like more information on opiates and how dangerous they can be, please read more of my posts. There is a ton of information covered each week and I also have a Youtube channel that I post 5 videos a week on. This is a serious problem that needs to be taken very seriously. The more children who are educated, the better their chances of not falling into a dangerous life of addiction.