With prescription painkiller abuse being labeled an “epidemic” by U.S. health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken the step of asking doctors to follow certain guidelines when prescribing opioids.
More and more Americans are becoming addicted to painkillers as doctors increasingly prescribe opioids to people who have undergone surgery or who suffer from chronic pain. The problem with relying on prescription drugs to treat pain is that it is all too easy for a person to get hooked on the drugs. According to the CDC, 2.1 million people in the U.S. are addicted to prescription opioids.
Prescription painkiller addiction is not a trivial matter. The number of prescription drug overdose deaths is staggering and now eclipses the total number of heroin OD deaths in the United States. Since 1999, there have been 165,000 fatal overdoses stemming from the sale of prescription therapies, according to CDC Director Tom Frieden.
Moreover, authorities said that prescription drugs are often a gateway to use of illegal drugs like heroin. That’s because individuals who are addicted to prescription painkillers find that heroin is a cheaper alternative and can be easier to acquire.
Fighting Back against Painkiller Addiction and Abuse
The CDC is always looking for ways to combat the rise in prescription painkiller abuse. One recent measure taken by the federal health agency is the issuance of guidelines for doctors who prescribe opioids like OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol and Vicodin.
The hope is that these guidelines, which are voluntary, will result in doctors opting to prescribe painkillers in fewer instances and instead recommending alternative pain treatment options to patients. Even patients who are suffering from chronic pain, said the CDC, should be encouraged to use non-opioids like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
For additional information about the CDC guidelines, view the Yahoo.com article, “Health Officials Just Took a Giant Leap Toward Solving One of the Biggest Addiction Problems in America.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested for prescription drug possession, prescription fraud, marijuana possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.