03 Nov Painkiller Overdose on the Rise in America
Painkillers are strong narcotic drugs that are prescribed by doctors to the people who are suffering from chronic pain caused by surgeries, burns, cancer, or migraines, etc. These drugs interfere with the central nervous system and respond to the signals of pain. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include formulations of three narcotics: oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Meperidine.
In the recent times, there has been a sharp increase in the painkiller related overdose deaths in the United States. Painkiller overdose has become a major concern, especially in New York. In the last decade, painkiller related overdose deaths have quadrupled. Every year more than 16,000 people die due to overdose from prescription painkillers. To put things in perspective, 20,000 kilograms of prescription drugs were sold in the year 1999, which in 2013, climbed up to a staggering 70,000 kilograms. Consequently, the death rate due to overdose also increased from 1.6 to 6.8. So, around 2 people die every day in New York due to painkiller overdose.
As per data collected by CDC, painkiller overdose was the leading cause of death in the year 2013. Out of 43,928 deaths due to drug overdose; 22,767 people died due to painkiller overdose. More than 16,000 deaths were due to painkillers and 7,000 people died due to a combination of benzodiazepines with painkillers.
The Reason Behind the Rise of Painkiller Overdose Deaths
One of the main reasons for the painkiller overdose is the rise in overprescribing painkillers by the doctors for chronic non-cancer pain patients. It’s not advisable to take painkiller for the long-term period as there isn’t any surety that they’ll improve chronic pain, functioning of the body, or even quality of life.
“We have to stop creating new cases of addiction. That boils down to getting the medical community to prescribe more cautiously. It’s not that doctors are intentionally causing an epidemic, but they are overprescribing painkillers, particularly for common chronic problems like lower back pain and headaches,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and chief medical officer of the Phoenix House Foundation in New York City.
Another reason for painkiller related deaths is the rise in high-volume pill-mills, or pain clinics as they are referred. Sometimes these are the people who don’t need painkillers for medical reasons. They are the drug dealers who wish to make profits. Most of the people get these painkillers from multiple doctors, or their friends.
Do You Need Help With Painkiller Addiction?
Only knowledge about the consequences of abusing drugs is not enough, you have to understand the underlying reason behind painkiller addiction and treat that first. If you or your near and dear ones are having trouble dealing with painkiller addiction then consult an addiction specialist immediately. You can even enroll yourself into a sober living NY program offered by us to get better and maintain long-term sobriety.