The Painkiller Epidemic – Dangers of Legal Prescription Drugs

prescription-drug-painkillersThe recent death of Cory Monteith reminds us that dangerous drugs like heroine are too often lethal. Illegal drug use of cocaine and heroine have been a part of society for many decades. But the biggest threats to our society are not illegal drugs manufactured in foreign lands and smuggled into the country. In fact, they are the legal prescription drugs manufactured right in our own communities.

“Overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels and now kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.” – Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Director for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Although a variety of prescription drugs are abused, the growing epidemic stems from prescription painkiller abuse. Almost 3 out of 4 prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers and causes approx. 500,000 emergency room visits each year.

All too often we focus on the perceived threat and don’t see the real dangers right in front of us. Efforts made by U.S. companies to create drug free work environments often pay little attention to the threats of prescription pain medicines.

Video by 12 Palms Rehab Center

“In 2010, more people aged 12 and older abused or were dependent on prescription painkillers than cocaine, heroin, stimulants and sedatives combined”- DEA and CDC.

These facts suggest that the war on illegal drugs is misguided and the real threat is our ever increasing appetite for prescription pain medicine.

For more information on what we can do to prevent prescription drug abuse, CDC Recommendations are helpful to employers as well as health care providers and family and friends of those suffering from prescription painkiller dependencies.

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