Tag Archives: prescription painkillers

CDC: Number of Opioid Prescriptions Falling

opioid prescriptionsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid prescriptions in the United States fell 18% between its peak in 2010 and 2015. However, it is still three times higher than it was in just 1999.

The reduction in prescriptions is partially due to the revised prescribing practices that have been recommended for physicians, as well as the general awareness campaigns brought on by the overdose epidemic. For more than a decade our nation has lost many thousands of lives each year to drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Opana and many others. Unfortunately, those horrible losses are still occurring today.

While there are still some counties around the nation that have shown increased activity in this regard, there are also additional good news reports, such as the number of prescriptions with high doses dropping by 41% since 2010.

It is still unclear what kind of impact this reduction will have on current and future opioid abusers. While there will still be thousands of people who die each year, hopefully that number continues to go down as well.

“We do know that when you start people on prescription opioids, the risk of unintended consequences and illicit use goes up. But our staff has done intensive analyses to see whether changing policies for prescription drugs shifts people into illicit use, and the answer is no,” explained Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of CDC, in response to the suggestion that limiting the number of pills being prescribed will drive abusers to seek out street drugs like heroin.

The painkiller epidemic is one area where it seems that cutting down the supply will have an effect on the demand, eventually. This is encouraging news for the continued efforts to help save lives from prescription drug addiction of all kinds, not just opioids. These and other forms of interventions are often necessary when it comes to

Study of Veterans Documents Transition from Painkillers to Heroin Abuse

veterans painkillersAddicts who abuse prescription painkillers often turn to heroin as well. This phenomenon has plagued society for the last several years. Some people insist that in order to reduce heroin addiction in the country, the prescription painkiller epidemic must be solved first. Others caution that by making prescription painkillers harder to obtain, that policy makers will drive users to toward heroin. In order to develop the best plan of attack for reducing heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, ongoing studies are being conducted and analyzed on different demographics that abuse these types of drugs.

One recent study shows that veterans are more likely to use heroin if they have misused prescription painkillers in the past. Veteran healthcare, including mental health, has been an ongoing concern of late, as they deserve the best care our nation can provide. Veterans and other people who present with suspicious behavior regarding their prescription painkillers should be more closely monitored by medical professionals for potential heroin abuse in the future. The results of this study appear in the journal Addiction.

“Our findings demonstrate a pattern of transitioning from non-medical use of prescription opioids to heroin use that has only been demonstrated in select populations. Our findings are unique in that our sample of individuals consisted of patients who were receiving routine medical care for common medical conditions,” explained David Fiellin, the co-author of the study.

This specific information and method of study can now also be applied to other groups to better document the link of painkillers and heroin addiction. As more information is gathered about the transition into heroin abuse, the more specialized prevention programs can be.

For people who do become dependent on opiates, including veterans and other populations, should seek out effective addiction treatment programs such as Desert Cove Recovery.