Painkiller Addiction in the US

Painkiller Addiction in the US

The number of prescriptions for painkiller issued in the United States has tripled over the last 20 years and the number of fatal overdose because of painkillers has reached epidemic levels. The increasing rate of cases of painkiller addiction and associated deaths even exceeded those from heroin and cocaine and this is raising much concern for the country’s concerned agencies.

In a study made last 2007, painkillers and marijuana were the two most popular substances that were used by first time addicts. It was noted that there was a 12% increase in the non-medical use of painkillers and the age bracket of the people addicted to it is becoming younger and younger every year. About three-fourths of the country’s overall problem of drug abuse was due to the misuse of painkillers.

The same trend of increasing abuse of painkillers has been seen as well in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe. But it is very alarming to note that the US consumes about 80% of the global supply of prescription painkillers even if Americans only make up less than 5% of the world’s population. These numbers only confirm that, indeed, the problem of painkiller addiction is blowing out of proportion and the government should exercise drastic measures in order to bring down the numbers.

From Painkillers to Heroin Addiction

Up until recently, heroin users were limited to Americans from low-income neighborhoods. They were usually individuals who were addicted to painkillers and switched to heroin because it was far more economical. However, recent statistics reveal that heroin addiction has become a problem even in affluent suburbs but was still mostly due to a switch from painkiller addiction.

The addiction to painkiller has resulted to the rise in a more dangerous addiction, heroin. Heroin provides a more affordable option for those addicted to prescription painkillers. Heroin provides the same euphoric effect which caused addicts to get hooked on prescription drugs. Overtime, heroin also resulted to tolerance which makes an addict take more than the usual amount of opiates to achieve the same level of euphoria. The similarity in the effect of heroin and painkillers in the body also contributes to the increasing number of addicts who turn to heroin once the pills were no longer available to them. This may be news to you, but in truth, this is a pressing problem that the US is dealing with and it’s very likely that your neighbors, and even your family and friends may be struggling with painkiller addiction.

The addiction to painkillers has become a gateway to addiction to opiates and the problem is showing no signs of slowing down. Painkiller addiction is the toughest addiction to treat, and it may nearly be impossible for some to achieve full recovery. Although this may be the case, the US government is assuring that they are working closely with all the states to find a solution for this growing problem and that they will continue to push for it until the issue is put under control.