NPR and Truven Health Analytics recently took a poll to determine how Americans deal with taking a pill that has been known to be highly addictive. People have not stopped requiring pain medication for intense injuries, but more have started to become highly addicted to the opiates.
According to statistics from Best Drug Rehabilitation, 2.6 million people abuse prescription drugs per year. Broken down, that means that approximately 300 people abuse prescription pills per hour.
The poll, which took opinions from over 3,000 people, indicated that a little more than half of Americans have been prescribed pain medication at one point in their lives. Most were prescribed the medication due to an injury that inflicted temporary pain, like having wisdom teeth removed, undergoing surgery or breaking a bone. Of the patients, 1 in 5 were prescribed medicine for chronic pain.
Prescription Pills (Pain Killers) and Addiction
More than three-fourths of the participants polled believed there is a strong correlation between prescription pain killers and addiction. More than one-third of people who were prescribed the medication were concerned about taking it. Less than one-third of people who had not been prescribed it expressed concern about the drugs.
People were mainly concerned about the serious potential side effect of becoming addicted to the prescription pills. Thirty-six percent said their concerns about the pills only related to addiction, while 30 percent said that their concerns were related to other side effects, like sleepiness or nausea.
Lately, there has been a lot of scrutiny over doctors prescribing opioids too loosely. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that prescriptions for opioids went from 75.5 million to 209.5 million from 1991 to 2010. As it turns out, the scrutiny and stigmas associated with the prescription pills has affected some patients’ outlooks. The poll showed that some had even refused or greatly questioned a doctor after being prescribed an opioid for pain.
Given the mass addiction surrounding opioids, some states are taking measures to try to ban prescription pills or create programs that combat painkiller addiction.