Prescription Drug Overdose Remains a U.S. Epidemic, Painkillers Big Part of the Problem

We’ve been chronicling how widespread prescription drug abuse has become a problem of epidemic proportions. According to recent numbers released by the CDC, the number of deaths caused by prescription drug overdose serves as shocking evidence of the problem.

There are now more deaths annually from overdose of prescription drugs than car accidents. This is the the result of a steep increase in prescription drug abuse that has occurred over the last two decades. These numbers beg the question of what is behind the trend.

Why Prescription Drug Abuse is so Pervasive

Prescription painkillers are the key players in prescription drug related deaths. Prescription painkillers now rank as third in popularity among teens who abuse, right after alcohol and marijuana. According to the FDA, one out of every seven teenagers reports prescription painkiller abuse for the purposes of getting high over the course of a year.
It is possible that part of what is driving this is easy accessibility and a misconception of prescription painkillers. For many, obtaining a prescription painkiller for abuse may be a simple matter of asking a friend or loved one for one. The careless attitude attributed to prescription painkiillers by many could be fueled by a lack of awareness of the addictive nature of painkillers. The risk of addiction and overdose is prevalent and frightening. Accidental overdoses often occur as a result of combining drugs that depress the body’s central nervous system. With such disturbing trends in abuse and deaths from overdose, many organizations have taken steps to try and raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs. Many of the leaders of these organizations are the bereaved loved ones of those who have lost their lives to prescription drug overdose.

People Are Now Seeking Help More Frequently
In light of all of this, there is one statistic reported by the CDC that some may interpret as a relatively good one. People are increasingly seeking treatment for abuse of prescription painkillers. Between the years of 2004 and 2008, the number increased an amazing 400%.

If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction, seek help immediately. It is not as scary as it may seem. Visit a resource like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to start seeking resources for help.

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