The abuse of opiates such as morphine, codeine, and heroin and their use as pain relievers is becoming a global concern that needs to be addressed. Opiate abuse affects the health, economic, and social welfare of many people around the world. An estimation of about 30 million people worldwide abuse drugs and the United States is among the leading countries with approximately 3 million opiate addicts.
The consequences of drug abuse have been on the rise. It is not surprising that unintentional overdoses resulting in death is also increasing steadily in the United States. Doctors prescribe these drugs as pain relievers but if you take too much and or use them not as prescribed, you may end becoming addicted, and potentially overdosing.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that prescription opiates have created about two million addicts in the United States. You should only use opiates as a pain reliever as prescribed by a doctor. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that between 2001 and 2009, there was a tremendous increase in the number of opiate addicts by 70%. The increase is attributed to the rise in the number of prescriptions written for opiates during the same period.
Research conducted by the CDC also shows that heroin is the most commonly used illegal opiate in the United States. The primary prescription opiates abused are methadone, OxyContin, Percocet, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Fentanyl. If you do not take these medications exactly as prescribed by the doctor, there Is a very good chance you may become addicted, and this can deteriorate your health.
The research also points out that opiate dependency also affects a significant number of medical practitioners. About 29% of people in the United States above the age 12 have used these prescription drugs without a doctors recommendation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that 36 states in the United States now have Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs with the objective of mitigating their abuse. The program has the responsibility of tracking the dispensing and prescribing of prescription medications and so far the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs have been successful. Hopefully the remaining states will follow, in an attempt to cut back on the opiate epidemic.