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Painkiller addiction cartoon courtesy of
Ralph Teller

Painkiller Medications are Overprescribed, Addictive, Overdosed and Deadly

Ralph Teller, Ironman Triathlete

Forty-six individuals die every day in the United States from an overdose of prescription painkillers

Prescription painkillers, including hydrocodone plus acetaminophen (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), oxymorphone(Opana), and methadone are (i) significantly overprescribed, (ii) extremely addictive and (iii) are causing widespread death from overdosing.

Painkillers are a prescription for tragedy!

Here are some alarming statistics from the Center for Disease Control according to a recent CME available to heath care providers (CDC Reports Alarming Stats on Prescription Painkillers):

  • 46 deaths per day. Forty-six individuals die every day in the United States from an overdose of prescription painkillers.
  • Overprescribed. Healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012. That's enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills. The opioid prescriptions ranged from a low of 52 for every 100 people -- which is still awfully high -- in Hawaii to an extraordinary 143 per 100 people in Alabama.
  • Addictive. Painkillers are extremely addictive. It has become common even for athletes and housewives to become addicted to prescription painkillers.
  • Painkillers have specific ingredients that work to control certain parts of the brain so the individual becomes both physically tricked into feeling addicted to the drug as well as mentally addicted to the painkillers.
  • Those with an addiction to painkillers often exhibit signs of losing control of oneself, losing focus unless you are on the drug.
  • The focus of that person's life becomes the drug ruling out all other priorities and responsibilities.
  • Addicted babies. Babies born today that are addicted to prescription painkillers has tripled in the last decade.
  • Pain Clinics. Not for profit and for-profit, high-volume pain clinics are prescribing large quantities of these drugs to people without documented medical indications.
  • Drug company profits. Drug companies sell many tens of billions of dollars of painkillers. This alliance of the drug companies with the health care providers that cause this overprescription should be stopped.
  • Drug companies should be forbidden to advertise in the United States precription pain killer drugs on TV, radio, newspaper and the internet. Canada has such a prohibition. Compared with Canada, the United States has twice as many opioid analgesic prescriptions per person.
  • Drug companies are aware of the addictive nature of their products.
  • Healthcare providers are prescribing painkillers like candy. These painkillers should only be prescribed in instances where the patient is in severe pain. Just because someone has pain doesn't mean they need an opiate.

    Strategies should be implemented to prevent overprescribing.

    We should be very wary of taking presciption painkillers, except under circumstances of extreme pain!

    More about Ralph Teller. See Ralph's 1Vigor Log Calendar.

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