Prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin are killing 40 people a day in the US. That's more than heroin or cocaine combined says the CDC, and it's due to overdose, either accidental or, sadly, intentional.
Part of the problem is the willingness of many doctors to prescribe pills for almost any malady. Also of concern are patients who stockpile medication and end up overdosing accidentally. Being intoxicated on prescription pills makes it harder to track proper dosages effectively.
There are a smaller number of patients who use prescription painkillers to take their own lives and there is still the problem of the illegal trafficking in legal narcotics.
No matter the reason, it's clear that America is awash in prescription medication and this rise, which more than tripled in just 10 years, is expected to continue unless more effective oversight, whether by the medical profession or the government, is enacted and enforced.
Officials weighing in on this issue are advocating a larger government role in regulating pill-happy doctors through legislation and technological monitoring. But it's clear that many patients may not be aware of just how dangerous these drugs are, despite the fact they are being prescribed for a good purpose. Incredibly, it seems new patients are never told about the danger of become addicted to prescription painkillers.
What do you think? Are prescription painkillers getting out of control? Please leave a comment below.
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