More People Die From Ingesting Prescription Pain Pills Than From Heroin And Cocaine, Combined

Written by DeShawn McQueen on Thursday, 04 October 2012. Posted in Breaking News, Prescription Drugs

prescription drug abuse

Prescription pain pill abuse is rapidly on the rise in the United States.

Unfortunately, and more likely than not, statistics in other highly developed countries probably reveal a similar trend.

According to a well-received, physician-written blog in the New York Times, prescription pain pill addiction (e.g., Oxycontin) is a form of drug abuse.

Research results reveal that prescription pill abuse actually takes more lives than other illicit substances like cocaine and heroin, combined.

Now that is surprising to learn. And, to be honest, it makes sense. So many people believe, and I was once one of these people, that “prescription” pills are more socially acceptable.

The reality is that there is no distinction if the purpose is to get high.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in the United States, a prescription pill overdose death occurs every 19 minutes.

Based on those statistics, every hour 3 people die due to prescription pill overdoses. Sadly, it follows that 72 people every day die as a result of prescription pill overdoses.

This definitely sounds like a problem of epidemic proportions.

What is even more sad is that these high numbers of loss live are unnecessary.

Although there is assistance, many people refuse it. Many addicts can only think of the temporary high they are guaranteed to feel, until drugs no longer work.

Somehow, addiction changes pathways in the mind, pertaining to logic, reason, and rational. There is no way I can explain so I will not even attempt to try.

Meanwhile, even though there is an on-going debate concerning whether addiction is a morality issue (choice) or whether it is genetics (hereditary) it is ruining the lives of so many (i.e., lost jobs, debt, decimated relationships, mental illness, physical problems, sexually contracted diseases…..).

Perhaps involuntary treatment is the key. As many as 20 of the 50 United States have implemented laws allowing spouses and even physicians to petition courts to involuntarily commit addicts to substance abuse treatment programs.

In fact, Massachusetts is one of the states that permit involuntary substance abuse treatment. Recently Massachusetts increased its maximum period of commitment to 90 days, up from 30.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, California apparently ended its involuntary substance abuse treatment commitment program.

Perhaps the Federal government should step in to provide some uniformity. It cannot though. That would be unconstitutional. It’s a federalism issue.

What do you think is a solution? What could help end this vicious cycle? Let us know what you think.


If you or someone that you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please call us. We can help you.

Original Article URL: nytimes.com

Photo Courtesy of: drugfreeworld

About the Author

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen is a staff writer at Recovery Now Newspaper and Recoverynowtv.com, an informative newspaper that serves as a resource for persons of all stages of drug and alcohol treatment, by giving them access to relevant and necessary information so that they may live balanced and substance-free lifestyles. DeShawn graduated from Wayne State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and premedical sciences. He holds a Juris Doctors degree in law from Valparaiso University School of Law. DeShawn’s writing and research has been published in such academic journals as Behavioral Pharmacology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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