Today, the United States is losing nearly 45 people every day due to a drug overdose! That’s 16,000 people every year. It has even been reported that in the last decade our country has lost 125,000 people from opioid overdoses alone. That’s more than twice the number of American deaths in the Vietnam War. Today, we live in a country that is prescribing death.
The medical and dental communities have indeed been one of the main contributors that have worsened this epidemic. With that being said, they also can be a point of change to help turn this public health issue around in the right direction.
But why has prescription pain killers become such a huge problem in the United States?
To be honest I could probably write a book on this subject alone. There are some interesting reads out there. For example, check out New York Times Best Selling Author, Jennifer Weiner’s novel titled ‘All Fall Down’ or Joshua Lyon’s book titled ‘Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict’ and many more.
Now back to the question. Why?
As people across the United States become overly focused on marijuana what we really should be rioting about prescription pain killers. They are being abused in every walk of life. In the workplace, down at the corner bar, at the barbershop, by our youth, by our young adults, professionals, on the bus, in the gym, in your neighborhood, around the corner, and in grandma’s living room. Yep even your grandma could be abusing her prescriptions without even knowing it. As ‘Pleasantville’ becomes riddled with pills of all forms, the very fabric of the ‘American Dream’ slowly deteriorates amongst the valley of social ignorance and disregard of your neighbor’s potential down fall.
The misuse and abuse of prescription medications is very high but yet interesting enough people generally are NOT aware of how big of a problem it really is. Over 50% of first time users are getting painkillers FREE from a friend or relative; talk about your social accessibility. Then comes the doctor, and then they are being purchased back at home again from those friends or relatives. Sure some are buying on the internet, some from the local dealer, a stranger, the passerby, and for those that like to doctor shop you are not being left out, but mostly these ‘killers’ are being consumed at home. We need to STEP AWAY FROM THE MEDICINE CABINET …..And look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself “Is it worth it?”
America’s Biggest Killer is in the Medicine Cabinet
This is eye-opener that unfortunately isn’t being recognized like it should. Maybe we have underestimated our societies need for instant gratification in everything we do. As 1,000’s across the country wade in water of their own internal bliss, self-satisfaction, and the so-called ‘narcotic happiness,’ they put themselves at greater risk by relying on that artificial high. Frighteningly enough, many that find themselves washing down those pharmaceutical skittles lead to heroin use; conflicted with shooting up in places that once seemed unimaginable.
United State makes up about 5% of the world’s population but we consume over 75% of the world’s prescription pain killers. We don’t have a moral issue, we have a pill issue.
While many teens are getting high from their parents medicine cabinet, others are consuming these pain killers as if they were some type of candy with a special twist. After all, they are available everywhere right? You know someone with a prescription don’t you? Besides, a doctor prescribed it. How bad can it be? It’s not illegal, right? Ha. Public perception couldn’t be any more wrong.
After years of research, it has been proven that opioids are NOT effective for treatment of long-term chronic pain. The very idea that opioids can be “safe and effective” for such pain is wrong. No, opioids truly cannot be used safely nor are they effective. Epidemiologic studies have even shown that those on chronic opioid therapy have a WORSE quality of life than those who have chronic pain that are not on opioid therapy. I discovered some of this research while attending the National Safety Council’s Rx Advocate Workshop in Chicago. Any questions please let me know.
Opioids in fact can…..
- Delay recovery
- Increase medical costs
- Double the chance of disability
- Increase falls to further injury
- Be mentally impairing
- Increase addiction
But this still doesn’t answer the question of why?
Many think, me being one of them, believe that social stigma is still a very large part of this bigger issue. American needs to recognize that…
- Addiction IS a disease
- Addiction IS not an issue of moral deficiency
- Doctor’s need to address education on addiction instead of contributing to the issue
- Society needs to stop seeing those in addiction as “those people” but instead as “our people”
- We can’t incarcerate the issue but instead we must increase our medical care as a whole
- Without proper care and or treatment our entire community remains “sick”
It’s time we stop prescribing death but instead start prescribing life. Break the stigma. Be a voice. Fight against substance abuse. Be the change.
Encourage your community to #RiseTogether
Stay tuned. Next I will be writing more on the reality of social stigma.
Until then I want to hear from you. What do you think about this epidemic?
Be safe & stay sober,