Prescription drug addiction isn’t a new problem in the United States, it’s been prevalent for over a decade now, and still indicates hardly any signs of slowing down. The Center for Disease Control has now announced prescription drug addiction to be at epidemic levels, with more than 100 people dying from overdose each day in america. The CDC additionally revealed that more people pass away from prescription drug overdose than from crack and heroin put together. A new study from the Controlled Substances Workgroup has forecasted that more young adults will abuse opioid painkillers and other illegal prescriptions than will smoke weed this year. This represents a massive cultural shift for drug abuse and it is quite disconcerting. Last year over twenty percent of high schoolers in Wisconsin admitted to using illegal prescription drugs.
Extraordinary Shift in Addiction Treatment
Only a decade ago, the vast majority of people engaged in addiction treatment programs were in rehabilitation for alcohol addiction. Very few were in rehab for being hooked on prescription drugs like pain relievers. By a year ago, nearly half of the patients treated for substance abuse had been hooked on opiate based pain relievers like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Morphine and Percocet. These kinds of addictions have become increasingly more prevalent and many individuals are still unaware of the risks of using prescription medications. A lot of people still assume that prescription drugs are harmless since they’re doctor prescribed and are usually picked up from the nearby pharmacy in a prescription bottle. These kinds of drugs are in reality more hazardous than many drugs that can be bought on the streets from sketchy drug dealers.
The Push to Make Prescribed Drugs Harder to Abuse
There has been a lot of pressure put on pharmaceutical companies recently to make their drugs more difficult to abuse. The most common way that many individuals abuse prescription drugs is through insufflating them, or crushing the tablet to a fine powder and then snorting it. Another way is to smash the tablet into a powder and mix it with water and cook it into a homogenous liquid then inject it straight into the blood vessels. The pressure is on the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to make the drugs more difficult to smash into a powder. Not too long ago, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer powering Oxycontin, have formulated OxyNeo, which happens to be much more tricky to crush compared to the original formula.
The increase in prescription drug abuse amongst teens and young adults is very disconcerting. Despite alterations in the formulation of some prescribed drugs such as Oxycontin that make it harder to smash and insufflate the drug there are still increasingly more young people that are abusing prescription drugs. Hopefully pharmaceutical companies will continue making changes to their medications to prevent individuals from overdosing on the drug. The U . S . is facing an epidemic that is directly related to prescription drugs. More people now undergo substance abuse treatment for pills like vicodin and oxycontin than for alcohol addiction.