Opioid Abuse Has Skyrocketed Across All Demographics

Opioid Abuse Has Skyrocketed Across All Demographics

Every demographic is susceptible to the dangers of prescription drug abuse. While hard street drugs seem to affect people in the lower socio-economic strata, prescription drugs don’t discriminate.

From 1992 to 2007, the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers (Oxycodone, morphine, codeine, Darvocet, etc.) increased 300 percent. In the early 1990s there were seven varieties of these painkillers on the market. Today there are 70-plus. One that has never faded since the early 20th century and is probably most familiar is Oxycodone.

The abuse of the opioid painkillers results in about 40 percent of all accidental deaths due to poisoning. According to The Australian, in 2008 there were 14,800 opioid painkiller deaths, which is nearly 300 percent more than what was experienced 10 years earlier. And it’s not the kids suffering from this abuse the most, the average age of overdose victims is 45 to 54 years old.

Death due to opiate abuse was once only possible in those who injected themselves. Twenty years ago, the needle was the only way to absorb the drug. But once the ever-popular Oxycodone was engineered to be taken orally, that all changed. The original purpose of the powerful painkiller was for use on cancer patients. But physicians began prescribing it for a variety of aches and pains, and a company that claimed the drug was not addictive made the situation worse.

Not only did patients become addicted, they suffered severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, severe addiction would occur within two weeks of taking the drug. Compounding the problem is the fact that it’s not difficult to get a prescription for the drug.

Some doctors believe Oxycontin and Oxycodone and other power drugs should only be prescribed for patients on the terminal path. More restrictions on how it is distributed are also a suggestion to lower the number of those addicted to these powerful drugs.

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