Addiction to Prescription Drugs on the Rise

Addiction to Prescription Drugs on the Rise

The drug problem conversations that tend to take place in public circles often focus on street drugs, namely cocaine and heroin. There is a consistent belief that such illegal drugs are the only ones truly causing problems. Prescription drugs, on the other hand, are completely safe as they are administered and monitored by licensed physicians.

At least that is the assumption.

The problem with assumptions is that they often ignore the true problem, feeding the belief that if it isn’t talked about – it isn’t real. For those who develop an addiction to prescription painkillers, however, the problem is very real.

A recent Today Health article highlighted a startling statistic. The mounting prescription drug epidemic is killing nearly 15,000 people each year, resulting in more fatalities than overdoses of cocaine and heroin combined.

The stories are all too familiar to those who take the problem seriously – the healthy athlete that develops a problem with an old sports injury; the working mother who injured her back in a word-related incident; the professional who battled cancer and then needed a prescription to help with the resulting pain.

None of these individuals sought out an addiction to painkillers and every one of them acted responsibly in seeking medical help. Unfortunately, a powerful addiction can develop quickly and even when under a doctor’s surveillance.

The availability of powerful drugs may also be contributing to the problem. According to TODAY, the volume of prescription painkillers sold in 2010 was four times the amount sold in 1999. Better monitoring systems are in demand, but perhaps a closer look at the steady rise in written and filled prescriptions for potentially deadly medications may be a better place to start.

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