Update: June 28,2016
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a press release today on the growing heroin problem. Read it here.
We have written a lot on this blog about illegal drugs and the problems they cause to our society. But legal drugs have started a painkiller epidemic in the United States.
A study recently published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that in 2014, 15 million people used prescription drugs non medically. In other words, used the prescription medicine not as prescribed. The vast majority of those drugs were opioids or painkillers. Read the study here.
The news magazine, The Week, also had a great article that looks at the root of problem. Read their insightful story here.
There is also a doctors group working on this issue. Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has quite a bit of information on their web site. Click here for the CDC report on painkillers. They estimate the cost of non-prescription use of these drugs, like OxyContin and Vicodin, cost insurance companies $72 billion dollars a year. Guess what the insurance companies do? They pass that cost on to all of us.
David Muir of ABC News did a 1 hour in depth look at heroin use in America. Painkillers were the gateway drug in many of the stories of the road to addiction. In many cases the addict just went to a friend or relatives medicine cabinet. These drugs have a legitimate use but need to be kept under lock and key.
It does give us hope that the entire country is having this conversation.
America can solve this problem if we work together.