Prescription Opioids Decline In America
April 27, 2018
Prescription opioids should be on many people’s mind considering the media’s constant focus on America’s favorite pain relievers. In recent years, the country has had to face the reality that Our relationship with prescription painkillers is untenable. Some twenty years after the epidemic began, roughly hundred people die of an overdose each day; more times than not, the event involves a prescription opioid.
Despite the frequent national attention on the subject of prescribing practices, it is still pretty easy for Americans to get their hands on oxycodone for all things pain; albeit, in most cases the strength, the number of pills and refills that patients can acquire is much lower than in previous years. What led to physicians changing their stance on analgesics is multifaceted; on the one hand, an ever-growing death toll has shown how easy it is for patients to overdose, and on the other, doctors are more equipped to identify drug-seeking behavior. Even though many primary care physicians criticize the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines, some doctors are heeding the recommendations.
The science is irrefutable; prescription opioids are not the best way to treat chronic pain; in some cases, the long-term use of drugs like oxycodone can amplify peoples’ symptoms. Fortunately, a good number of doctors are now proposing alternative forms of pain management to their patients. The fewer opioids pharmacies dispense, the better; even when patients do not abuse their drugs, there is a chance their dangerous medications can end up in the wrong hands.
Prescription Opioids Declining
A new report from the Iqvia Institute for Human Data Science reveals that the number of opioid painkillers prescribed is rapidly declining, CNBC reports. The trend began in 2011 and significantly accelerated last year; the report shows a 29 percent decrease. The number of opioid prescriptions fell more than 10 percent per month between January and December 2017.
“Some of the programs, perhaps many of the programs that have been put into place in the past year or two seem to be having an impact,” said Murray Aitken, executive director of the Iqvia Institute.
Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:
While the above information is excellent news, we still have an overdose crisis and an addiction epidemic. Treating addiction is the most significant tool at America’s disposal for saving lives. Merely curtailing prescription opioids, while it might prevent new opioid use disorder cases, does little for those already dependent upon the drugs. Left with few options, many patients will turn to the street to avoid withdrawal, putting themselves at high risk of encountering deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
“A crisis that began with the lawful prescribing of prescription medicines has evolved into a disaster involving illicit drugs, and increasingly, super-potent forms of illicit fentanyl,” FDA’s Scott Gottlieb M.D. said in a speech at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. “So even as medical prescriptions are falling, overdose deaths are rising.”
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Christians Drug Rehab. Our dedicated team can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools for living a life in recovery. Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day; if you have unused or unwanted medications in your home, please dispose of them safely at a DEA-approved location.