Drug Abuse in America: Part 3/3

Is there a prescription drug abuse problem in America? If so, what is the scope?

This ABC News piece aired in April and it has been on my mind ever since. Here’s a few of the stats that made my jaw drop.

Americans use 80% of all prescription pain killers in the world. The US consumes 99% of all Vicodin manufactured. In 17 states, deaths related to accidental overdose outnumber those deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. Check out the full story at this link:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/prescription-painkillers-record-number-americans-pain-medication/story?id=13421828

Yes, I think there is a huge prescription drug problem here. There are also some disturbing trends/thoughts I’m concerned about. Should “emotional” pain be treated with narcotics. I say no. There is a purpose for sadness and grief. Why medicate with opiates? Is it not a better answer to work through the emotional pain rather than to numb it?

We are seeing more kids present to the ED within the last two years with complaints of migraine headache, chronic abdominal pain and back pain. We typically don’t treat with narcotics. My guess is that eventually, if these children keep presenting with these complaints, someone along the way will give them some. Is that a good answer?

I think it’s time that doctors institute tougher measures when prescribing narcotics just like the trend has swayed with overuse of antibiotics. This ABC news piece suggests to only give out pain killers for terminal illnesses. Broken bone, dental visit… only Ibuprofen for you.

What do you think about this issue? Give the narcotics or take a tougher stand? When should narcotics be given? Have you written about this in a fiction piece?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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