(PRWEB) June 11, 2014
According to the CDC (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention), deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels in the past decade. So much so that Fox News reported in an article published on May 30th, 2014 that several California counties to sue drug makers for allegedly starting the epidemic. The number of overdose deaths has become greater than deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. A big part of the problem is the non-medical use of prescription painkillers – using drugs without a prescription – or using drugs just for the "high" they cause. Approximately 12 million Americans (age 12 or older) reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in the past year .
It is well known that opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet, Roxicodone and OxyContin have a high potential for abuse, which is why they are schedule II narcotics and have very strict laws controlling their sale and usage . Yet, it is interesting that in 1995 the FDA approved OxyContin , a highly addictive opiate-based painkiller, and shortly after from 1998 to 2010, the production of these drugs increased 10 times . During that same time period, according to the CDC, overall prescription painkiller sales, overdose rates and admissions to treatment have increased at a proportionately alarming rate .
Also, the latest studies from SAMSHA, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, indicates that the people who used prescription painkillers non-medically were 19 times more likely to initiate heroin use than people who did not use them .
A Personal Story of Prescription Painkiller Abuse & Recovery
Evidence of prescription drugs leading to heroin has been seen in treatment trends too. Sunshine Summit Lodge provides an innovative opiate detox program and they have been treating more and more cases of opiate addiction in their clients who are starting off on prescription painkillers. This center has many examples of this. One such client, Mike, a state champion high school and collegiate wrestler, was prescribed Percocet and eventually OxyContin for an injury that he sustained in a car accident. When his doctor caught on to the fact that Mike’s habit to the pills was growing, the prescription was cut off.
Unfortunately, it was too late, Mike was now experiencing the severe withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of his opioid use - unless he obtained more drugs he would become severely sick with horrible flu-like symptoms that would become unbearable. When he couldn’t get more prescriptions for the Oxycontin, he found someone who would sell them to him illegally, albeit at a very high cost.
Finally, when he couldn’t afford them anymore, his dealer told him he could get him heroin at a fraction of the price of the OxyContin pills that he was buying and that this would also handle his drug withdrawal symptoms. Mike went from trying to reduce his pain symptoms to becoming addicted to opiates and eventually becoming addicted to heroin which is something he and his family never imagined he would ever be involved in.
Better Access to Addiction Treatment
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends better access to substance abuse treatment, stating that effective, accessible substance abuse treatment programs could reduce overdose among people struggling with dependence and addiction and they encourage states to increase access to these important programs. Sunshine Summit Lodge, a Narconon program is accepting clients and specializes in resolving this type of addiction. The facility will also releasing a series of prescription abuse prevention articles online this month.
For more information on opiate addiction or Sunshine Summit Lodge and their effective approach to heroin and opiate addiction, please visit their site at http://www.sunshinesummitlodge.com or call them at 877-565-0123.
1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/PainkillerOverdoses/
2. Drug Enforcement Agency – Drug Scheduling: http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ds.shtml
3. Wikipedia – Oxycodone- History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxycontin#OxyContin
4. Wikipedia – Oxycodone- Statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxycontin#OxyContin
5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/painkilleroverdoses/infographic.html
6. SAMSHA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration – Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers May Raise the Risk of Turning to Heroin: