America’s Dependence on Opioids

 In General, Statistics, Symptoms

Prescription painkillers have emerged as one of the most valuable and prevalent tools in the medical community. They have an important function in treatment of injuries and ailments large and small, but if you, a friend or family member begins using painkillers outside of your prescribed dosage, it can be a slippery slope to physical dependency and addiction. The discomfort of discontinuing pain treatment can understandably lead someone to take more pills than prescribed, or seek extended access to opiates after their prescription has ended. The prevalence of opiate addiction in America proves just how far this dangerous epidemic has spanned, in many scenarios resulting in serious consequences. These statistics reveal the shocking potency of prescription pill abuse in America today.

Doctor writing a prescription

  • Doctors in the US wrote more than 259 million prescriptions in 2012.

    While doctors do their best to prescribe only legitimate prescriptions, addiction can drive people to “doctor shop” or seek prescriptions from multiple doctors, and participate in other behaviors that lead to an over-prescription of opioids.

  • About 493,000 Americans over the age of 12 began using prescription pills non-medically in 2012.

    This averages out to around 1,350 new individuals abusing prescription opiates every day. Many of these people are simply seeking relief from chronic pain, and others find it difficult to give up feelings of euphoria associated with use of opioid painkillers.

  • An estimated 7 million Americans are dependent on prescription painkillers.

    The majority of these dependencies began with legitimate prescriptions of painkillers. Dependency occurs for a number of reasons, but the risk increases when patients take painkillers outside of their doctor’s recommendations in dosage, frequency and duration.

  • The US consumes 99% of the world’s hydrocodone or Vicodin.

    This makes us by far the majority users of prescription opioids. We also consume the majority of the world’s oxycodone, at 71%.,

  • Approximately 973,000 people were admitted into treatment centers for painkiller abuse in 2012

    A majority of these people admitted into traditional treatment programs would relapse. Some would switch to cheaper opiate alternatives, like heroin.

Doctor with patient.

At OTCOA, we fight to reduce these numbers, but more importantly, we fight for you and your loved ones. Our individualized treatment plans will help you access the effective and affordable care that you need to recover. Learn more about our program today and let us help you, a friend or family member begin the process of recovering from opiate addiction.

Interested In Learning More About OTCOA’s Method Of Affordable, Accessible, Outpatient Treatment?

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Doctor prescribing pills.Interview with Jason Hahn.
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