Painkillers: Addiction Struggles
Prescription drugs when used for the right reasons can be life savers. Painkillers can be a short term solution for dealing with severe pain. However, the narcotic elements in many prescription pain relievers have shown to be quite addictive and harming. The United States has seen a large increase in the abuse and addiction of painkillers. This had led to an increase of accidental overdose deaths, and admissions into drug rehab treatment programs to address the problems of such medications.
The April 29, 2012 broadcast of CBS’s 60 Minutes interviewed Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The segment was called “Hooked: Why Bad Habits are Hard to Break.” The interview addressed several aspects of addiction and much of the brain science that Dr. Volkow has established in addressing the mental disease that makes up addictions to drugs, alcohol and even food. Prescription painkillers were also discussed in the interview.
In discussing painkillers Dr. Volkow brought up an alarming statistic, last year 210 million prescriptions were written for opioid painkillers in this country. The report stated that is enough painkiller medication to keep every adult in the United States medicated around-the-clock for an entire month. Overdose deaths have skyrocketed across the country and in many states it is now the #1 cause of accidental death, beating out traffic accidents. Data also reflects that the treatment episodes for those of prescription painkillers have surged over 100 times what it was 10-15 years ago. More are checking into drug rehab centers with prescription painkillers as their primary drug of abuse.
Dr. Volkow expressed that we are a ‘nation of severe pain or… we are over prescribing’. Many individuals hooked on prescription drugs have resulted in a behavior of “Dr. Shopping,” which is the habit of seeing several doctors to obtain prescriptions. A recent summit was held to address prescription drug and drug abuse. Those in attendance discussed solutions to address this problem. Motions are being taken to create pills that are more challenging to abuse. Also they discussed developing a more effective database that medical facilities can use to access patient prescription information.
The White House Drug Policy also reflected that one of the ways to help with Dr. Shopping and the prescription painkiller problem in the United States is to better educate medical professionals on the dangers of prescribing prescription pain medications and opioids. Dr. Volkow’s opinion reflected this same thought in the 60 Minutes Interview. She stated, “Being honest, I think that many physicians have not been properly trained on how to prescribe opiate medications.” See the entire 60 Minutes segment on addiction and being hooked.
Right now, treatment and drug rehab is the best way to address the struggles with prescription painkillers and addiction. Addiction treatment has come a long way in recent years with the studies, programs and science developed in understanding dependency, craving and addiction. Help from drug rehab can be a life saving measure when addressing the problems of abusing dangerous painkillers at a toxic level. To get help from Cirque Lodge in Sundance Utah, now is the time. We encourage you to call today for an assessment.