By Marlyn Rodriguez |Opinions Editor|
More than 100 people die every day from prescription drug addiction in the United States.
Doctors write approximately 300 million drug prescriptions a year.
In 2010, doctors prescribed enough pain medication to provide a dosage to all the adults in the U.S. every four hours for a month, according to The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Beast.
Drug addiction claims more lives than gunshot wounds, car accidents or suicide, according to the The Daily Beast.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that in 2010 30,000 of the 38,000 deaths due to drug overdose were unintentional.
The Huffington Post compares that number to the 34,000 deaths from traffic accidents and the 32,000 deaths due to firearms.
The United States is responsible for more than three quarters of prescription drug use in the world, reports The Daily Beast.
The highest numbers of drug abuse have been reported in California, which is why California has taken measures to help decrease the number of people dying from drug overdose, states The Daily Beast.
This has prompted officials to sue Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Cephalon Inc. and Purdue Pharma, who produce a majority of the prescription medications.
The CDC reports that 32 people go to the emergency room due to prescription drug abuse for every person that dies of a medicine overdose.
President-elect of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Dr. Lynn Webster, stated in The Los Angeles Times, that many physicians don’t realize how easily a patient can become addicted to their prescribed medication, especially if they are experiencing chronic pain.
That commonality of becoming addicted is what makes the medications as dangerous as they’ve become, stated Webster. The Daily Beast also reports that approximately one person in Orange County dies from a prescription drug overdose every other day.
The Los Angeles Times has reviewed coroners’ reports to find that more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from heroin and cocaine use.
Between 2006 and 2011, there were approximately 4,000 deaths from prescription drugs in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.
The painkiller hydrocodone became the most popular prescribed drug, outnumbering the amount of antibiotics and cholesterol medications prescribed, reports The Los Angeles Times.
In 2010, more than 12 million people admitted to medicating themselves with prescription drugs for reasons other than what they were intended for, reports Psyhcology Today,
The Daily Beast reports that there are 5.1 million painkiller abusers, 2.2 million who take tranquilizers without actually needing them, and 1.1 million who take stimulants just for the experience.
Webster suggests that doctors should assess patients before prescribing them certain medications to ensure they are not at a high-risk level for drug dependency or addiction.
Psychology Today states that just because doctors frequently prescribe specific medications such as painkillers and tranquilizers, that doesn’t make them any less addicting. Death can still be a result even if they are not being abused.
Psychology Today explains that a drug overdose can occur if they are mixed the wrong way or taken under the wrong conditions.