Americans haven’t been reporting any change in the pain they feel, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sales of prescription opioids nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2014 in the U.S. By itself, this statistic is troubling, but the fact that prescription opioid overdose deaths have also quadrupled over that timeframe makes it downright scary.
Around half of opioid painkillers are prescribed by primary care providers, but they aren’t the only culprits behind the massive uptick in prescription rates over the past decade or so. According to the CDC, 36% of physical medicine/rehabilitation patients, 37% of surgery patients, and 49% of pain medicine patients are prescribed painkillers.
Despite these high prescription rates, healthcare providers are concerned about the risks of prescription painkiller addiction and overdose. While prescription painkillers can help manage some types of pain, there isn’t enough evidence that they improve overall function, quality of life, or chronic pain among patients.
Who Uses Painkillers?
According to the CDC, prescription painkiller use varies according to ethnicity, gender, and age:
Where Do People Get Painkillers?
People at the highest risk of overdosing — those who use prescription painkillers for non-medical purposes 200+ times per year — generally don’t get their drugs the same ways as people who obtain them for purely medicinal purposes or by those who use them less frequently.
Prescription Rates Vary by State
With no country-wide policy on prescribing painkillers, the rates vary from state-to-state, sometimes by a wide margin. According to the CDC, the highest-prescribing state wrote nearly three times as many prescriptions for painkillers as the lowest-prescribing state. There is minimal variation on the health issues that cause people pain, so officials believe that other factors are influencing the discrepancy:
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction prescription painkillers, you don’t need to handle it on your own. Here at Turning Point, we provide the best care possible to assist you during your recovery. If you’ve decided to seek help, contact our New Jersey drug and alcohol rehab center at (973) 380-0905 to begin the admissions process.