Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

prescription drug abuse epidemic

Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic in the USA was announced by the The Center for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this year.  Some of my colleagues in the field of substance abuse treatment including myself believe the CDC is in denial if it thinks the epidemic is new.  Travel to almost any urban area in the country and you can witness the devastation the heroin use has caused. Then go visit a middle or upper class community and interview some folk to find out how long the secret of prescription drug abuse has been kept.

Opioid abuse in any form has been a serious problem in communities but sometimes the issue is not publicly recognized until the problem hits certain areas and communities of the country.

However, bottom line we are all hopeful that with this announcement help and change will come that will be to the benefit of the clients and families affected by the disease of addiction.

Statistics

In a July, 2014 press release the CDC reported that an estimated  259 million opioid prescriptions were written by health care providers in 2012.  An estimated 44 Americans die daily from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

In the state of Virginia in 2014 prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths for the first time surpassed the deaths from auto accidents.

In 2008 as I traveled around the country surveying opioid treatment programs that dispense Methadone I noticed regardless if I was on the West  or East coast the demographics of the clients were changing.  This I had thought was a change that was unique to the clinic I worked at in Virginia due to our location.

Significant changes noticed:

  1. Clients were being admitted at a  younger age 19 -25
  2. Admissions for  Oxycodone/Percocet vs heroin increased

During that time as people across the country were losing his/her jobs they were losing their insurance.  As I facilitated intake interviews of clients at my clinic I also interviewed clients at the facilities I surveyed in other states.  It was not uncommon for clients to discuss having abused medication for a long time hiding it from their doctor.  When jobs were lost some took a friend or family members medication. When that option ran out and for those who did not have that option the clients found people to purchase the pills from.

The lowest cost per pill reported to me was $30.00 with some clients taking over 15 pills per day.  It is now 2016 and the number of admissions for the prescription opioid drug user continues to increase.

58% of the overdose deaths in 2014 were due to opioids or heroin. 37% of that number was from pain medications and 19% heroin.

The use of heroin has also increased significantly.  Those who can’t afford the cost of street pills are buying cheaper low grade heroin.  The majority of heroin on the street across the nation is laced with contaminants like fentanyl which is a highly potent opioid used by itself.  This drug addition to heroin being sold has had an impact on the higher overdose and death rates.

Opioid abuse in any form has been a serious problem in communities but sometimes the issue is not publicly recognized until the problem hits certain areas and communities of the country.  One reason is because the stigma is strong regarding medicated assisted treatment and people turning a blind eye thinking this problem “is not in my community.”

Stigma and Treatment

Medicated assisted treatment programs dispensing methadone/methadose and/or prescribing suboxone have been helpful to thousands.  There are arguments that using either is just substituting one drug for another.  The difference is that clients in a Medicated Assisted Treatment program are monitored by a doctor.  The doctor and the program as a whole are highly regulated by local, state and federal regulations.  Patient doses of medication are monitored and individual and group counseling is provided.

No one treatment method is for everyone. Having options for help with addiction is saving lives.  The prescription drug abuse epidemic has not discriminated and is a nationwide issue. Unfortunately in some states medicated assisted treatment is frowned upon. Clinics are allowed at a very minimum or not at all. Resulting in clients traveling 50 miles or more for treatment. Despite the fact that information and research supporting medicated assisted treatment has grown.

How You Can Help

  1. You can start by educating yourself and your family about addiction and your community
  2. Google your state and addiction to find statistics on youth and elderly use
  3. Write your local and state representatives and inquire how he/she votes on this topic
  4. Remember that if this issue has not hit your family it doesn’t mean it never will.
  5. If there is a treatment program outpatient or inpatient call and inquire if you can have a tour.  You don’t have to wait until you or someone you know needs help. Know who is in your community.  If you don’t need help perhaps you can give some help. Donate time or goods.
  6. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for literature targeting professionals in the field, families,  children and much more.
  7. Participate in community September Recovery Month Activities

If you are seeking more information on this topic  comment below or Contact Us.

Need Assistance Finding Treatment CLICK HERE

Here is a good resource to learn more about this opiate crisis.
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Lydia Brown

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Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown, MS, MAC, CSAC, CADAC Editor ATN, Home Business Owner Advocate for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment CARF Surveyor

28 thoughts on “Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

  • December 12, 2016 at 9:04 am
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    Hi, Lydia! You have a genuine drug prescription. Nowadays drug addiction is the common problem for the teens they’ll say because of the stress that’s why they are taking the forbidden medicines. Hopefully, parents might see and follow this prescription.
    Gregory Martinez recently posted…Low CostMy Profile

    Reply
    • December 13, 2016 at 10:32 pm
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      Thank you, Gregory for your comment we do need to keep our youth in mind.

      Reply
  • November 16, 2016 at 5:32 am
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    I was glad after I finished reading this article has excellent insights about abusing the drug prescription. could city government do something to eliminate these shameful drugs.

    Reply
    • November 16, 2016 at 6:25 am
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      Hello James thank for your comment. Government depending on where you live to what degree are addressing the matter.

      Reply
  • October 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm
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    I’m grateful for the help and in addition expect you find out what an amazing job that you’re accomplishing educating other individuals through the use of your web site.

    Reply
    • October 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm
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      Thank you for stopping by Jual. Glad you find the information here helpful.

      Reply
  • October 16, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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    Reply
  • October 16, 2016 at 8:47 am
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    Enjoyed your content and found it helpful

    Reply
  • October 5, 2016 at 6:55 am
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    Hi Lydia,

    Those figures are so depressing. “44 Americans die each day”, this itself shows that addiction is a beast.I am a father of two sons. My younger son is in his teens and due to his bad company of friends, he got into alcohol addiction, eight months back.

    It came as a shock to both me and my wife when we learnt about this four months back . We searched for numerous alcohol support groups, but my son wasn’t willing to attend any of them due to peer pressure, I guess.

    We finally shifted to another city, so that he gets a new environment. We took extra care of him and gave him all our love and support. Thankfully he is three months sober now. 🙂 We still keep a strict watch on him and his new circle of friends.
    I hope he continues being sober.

    Regards,
    Gary.

    Reply
    • October 8, 2016 at 8:37 pm
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      Hi, Gary, Glad to hear your son is ok now. It is not uncommon for our youth to not relate to the 12 Step meetings which are filled with adults. For the future see if you can find an AA or NA meeting that is for young adults in your community. You can call the hotlines and inquire. Also you can find a lot of information for you and your wife to read regarding alcoholism here http://www.samhsa.gov/
      You and your wife could benefit from attending Alanon meetings. You can search for one near you here: http://www.al-anon.org/find-a-meeting
      I also recommend that you and your wife read this: Addictive Thinking and the Addictive Personality Click Here http://amzn.to/2dSI6va This is an affiliate link. However, I have used this book as a guide for many years to help me understand alcoholism and addiction. It has helped me, family members and my clients because I came to understand the psychology of addiction.

      AA HOTLINE: (866) 247-0186
      NA HOTLINE: (800) 974-0062

      I hope this helps and that your son continues his recovery journey. Don’t give up but practice Tough Love and have a support network for yourselves as parents. You don’t have to wait until something happens.

      Reply
  • September 29, 2016 at 2:11 am
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    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent looking for this info! Thanks!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2016 at 8:14 pm
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      Thank you Vadenais and thank your brother for the referral please. I am glad this information was able to help you with your research.

      Reply
    • September 13, 2016 at 1:19 am
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      Matthew, thank you for your comment. There more evidence coming about addressing doctors who continue to prescribe medication and not pay attention to the negative consequences regarding long term use. I happy that many states in the USA are now holding these doctors accountable. There will be real change when patients and family start suing these doctors.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm
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    I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 11:58 am
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    I think this is one of the most vital info for me. I’m glad I got to read your article. Good job.

    Reply
    • September 13, 2016 at 1:24 am
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      Beckett, thank you for your comment glad you enjoyed the information

      Reply
  • September 6, 2016 at 9:13 am
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    Reply
  • August 28, 2016 at 8:46 am
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    Hi Lydia,

    Those are really frightening statistics and, I haven’t done the research, but I imagine we in the UK will have a similar problem percentage-wise.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
    • September 1, 2016 at 12:45 am
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      Thank you Joy for your comment. I was watching a documentary a few months ago about the trafficking of cocaine and opioids worldwide and yes the UK is on the list. Its everywhere and I keep our youth in prayer.

      Reply
  • August 26, 2016 at 11:33 am
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    Hi I wish to say that this article is amazing,
    nice written and come with almost all important infos.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2016 at 6:14 am
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    Lydia, I did not realize the statistics were so high for usage! WOW! I appreciated your advice to take a tour of a local addition recovery center now instead of waiting until a loved one or friend needs one. No time like the present to learn more about the center than compared to when the need for a center is urgent. No one wants to rush into choosing a facility in a hurry. Your advice allows for planning ahead for if and when the need arises. Thank you for the informative post! ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…New Blog HeaderMy Profile

    Reply
    • August 25, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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      Hello Adrienne nice to have you visit and your comment is appreciated.

      Reply
  • August 18, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    Hi Lydia..
    Pretty alarming what’s happening in this country. The other day I saw a story about Real Estate Open Houses where a woman came to see the house and went to the bathroom, looked through the medicine cabinet and robbed the pain medicine that was there … unbelievable.. the lengths people will go through when addicted to a drug. I have a son and I have been very watchful of his behavior because I know what kids do – not in MY house! He hates me, but hopefully one day he’ll understand.

    Reply
    • August 18, 2016 at 7:38 pm
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      Hi Lesly thank you for your comment. Parents I have worked with that have children at home express the toughest time communicating about drug use. After discussing it with them it always turns out all topics are off limits with their teens. That’s why I love the free literature SAMSHA has that targets children of all ages. The pamphlets are colorful and engaging always with some drug education and a strong message. He will understand and look at how prepared he will be when he has his own children.
      Lydia Brown recently posted…Prescription Drug Abuse EpidemicMy Profile

      Reply

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