People in the U.S. have been steadily increasing their use of prescription drugs in the past decade and many Americans take multiple prescriptions on a regular basis. Instances of prescription addiction have been on the rise and the abuse of these drugs has reached the point of becoming a national health issue. Why are so many Americans using prescription drugs? There are different opinions on this matter and while for many of these patients this type of medication is necessary for their health there is no question that prescription drugs have become a growing problem that needs to be addressed.
Overprescription by Doctors- The source of rampant availability for prescription drugs comes down to the doctors suggesting or giving them to patients. Instead of weighing other options or looking into whether the drugs are really benefiting the patients, many doctors are carelessly prescribing drugs as a quick fix for illnesses. This could be due to the limited amount of time they have with each patient or the belief that medication is the key to wellness. Physicians are relying too heavily on prescription drugs to offer solutions to their patients so that they can save time and give them a quick answer.
Pharmeceutical Companies Advertisements– Americans are flooded with ads for new prescription drugs that promise them a better quality of life. Many of these marketing strategies from large pharmaceutical companies are also directed at doctors because they write the prescriptions. These companies make a huge profit off the prescription drug industry and they push their products heavily on Americans, even with advertisements targeting young teens. This type of marketing increases the mentality that drugs are the best health solution for any kind of problem.
Addictive Prescription Drugs- One of the major issues regarding the use of prescription drugs in the U.S. is the problem of addiction. The amount of Americans dying from drug overdose is alarming and addiction to prescription drugs has reached epidemic proportions. One of the reasons then that prescription drug use is so high can be related to the addictive nature of many of these drugs, particularly opiates which are the most common kind of prescription drug abuse. Opioid medications have a high risk of addiction and yet they are readily prescribed by doctors to patients even with only moderate pain.
Not Using Alternative Treatments- There are plenty of other solutions to health problems that do not involve the use of potentially dangerous and addictive prescription drugs but alternative treatments are not used as often as they should. Doctors and patients are looking for a quick solution from drugs rather than exploring alternative options that could be equally effective. Options like acupuncture for example have been proven to work for a variety of illnesses with no side effects and no problems with addiction. Unfortunately these types of treatments are often turned to as a last resort after prescription medication proved ineffective.
Doctors Hoping for More Visits- For physicians seeing patients with Medicare or Medicaid they might prescribe more drugs as a way to create regular follow-up appointments that will increase payments. Doctors are using prescription drugs as a way to increase their profit especially from patients who are receiving government medical care.
There are many reasons why prescription drugs have become such a big problem in the U.S. and these are just a few of the possible issues to blame. The fact is that Americans believe drugs to be the solution to their health problems while in reality they can have negative side effects and have the strong potential to be addictive. If other kinds of treatments were used more readily then prescription drug use in the U.S. could be reduced to a reasonable level.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.