Addiction to prescription pain medication has been on the rise in the United States since the late 90s. This is attributed to several factors, including increased ease of access to these medicines as well as misconceptions about their side effects.
But just how common is prescription pain medication addiction? Let’s crunch some numbers.
According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 18 million people have misused such medications at least once in the previous year. The survey also revealed that 2 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the past year and more than 250,000 individuals misused sedatives for the first time.
Recent statistics from the National Health Center for Health Statistics show that 70,630 people died from opioid overdose in 2019 alone. Updated statistics from the 2019 NSDUH shows that about 10.1 million people misused prescription opioids in the past year while 1.6 million people used prescription pain relievers for the 1st time in the year before the survey.
From these statistics, it is clear that prescription pain medication misuse is a huge issue and a lot more still needs to be done to bring it under control.
Why are Prescription Painkillers Popular?
Prescription painkillers are abused across the board by young and older adults alike. The main reason for this has been attributed to the ease of access to these medicines. Unlike illegal drugs, it is easy to get your hands on prescription medicines as a family member or friend is likely to have them.
These medicines are commonly prescribed to deal with mild to severe pain and work by depressing the central nervous system and activating receptors in the brain. This results in the release of endorphins which in turn leads to calmness and relaxation after taking the medicines. Over time, the body develops tolerance and physical dependence on the medicines which eventually leads to addiction.
The most commonly abused prescription painkillers are opioids and opiates. Unfortunately, most people mistakenly believe that these painkillers are less harmful than illegal drugs like cocaine.
Help is Available
Prescription pain medication addiction is a lot more common than people think. If you or your loved one is struggling with this addiction, help is available.
At the Robert Alexander Center for recovery in Kentucky, we specialize in drug abuse treatment. We have various addiction treatment programs aimed at helping individuals overcome their addiction and go on to live clean, sober lives. These programs range from residential inpatient programs to intensive outpatient or outpatient programs for those with busy schedules. We also offer safe and effective medical detox services for those who need them as well as family therapy for the entire family.
Our goal is to offer affordable drug abuse treatment in Kentucky and beyond. Choose to end your struggle today and reach out to us for help. We’ll be glad to assist you in rebuilding a life free from addiction.