10 Frightening Facts About Prescription Pain Pills

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Prescription pain pills have changed the face of medicine in many good and bad ways. These powerful pills have helped many people manage their pain and increase their quality of life, yet the fact remains that painkillers have taken thousands of lives and are one of the most commonly abused and dangerous substances in the country. The rising mortality rates from prescription drug overdoses have now exceeded traffic fatalities, resulting in at least 37,485 deaths in 2009. This statistic is just one of many startling facts about prescription pain pills and the national epidemic they’ve caused. Here are 10 frightening facts about prescription pain pills:

  1. Prescription drug abuse kills more people than traffic accidents

    A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association said that people who are prescribed high doses of prescription pills may have a greater risk of death. In fact, drug overdoses and brain damage from long-term drug abuse killed an estimated 37,485 people in 2009, which surpassed the death toll from traffic accidents by 1,201 people. This alarming number of deaths is expected to rise, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Between 1998 and 2008, treatment admissions for prescription painkiller dependence grew 400%

    Drug treatment admission rates have risen dramatically over the last decade, specifically for prescription pain med dependence. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the treatment admission rate for opiates other than heroin grew 400% in 2008, which was up from 2005. This means that for every 100,000 population, 45 people aged 12 and older have sought treatment for their prescription pain med abuse.

  3. Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain pills tried them before the age of 15

    Teens and young adults abuse prescription drugs more than any other illicit drug, except marijuana. According to the United State Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), one in seven teenagers admits to abusing prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, and 60% of the teens who abused prescription pain pills experimented before the age of 15.

  4. Seven in 10 people who abuse prescription pain pills obtained them from a friend or relative

    According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a staggering number of people obtain their prescription pain meds from a friend or relative for free. Seven in 10 people got their prescription painkillers from a friend or relative, whereas nearly 10% bought them from a friend or relative, and five percent took them from these people without asking.

  5. About 120,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for overdosing on opioid painkillers

    Prescription pain pill addiction has killed thousands of Americans each year. About 120,000 Americans go to the emergency room each year for overdosing on opioid painkillers. Prescription pain pill abusers can easily overdose if they take higher doses than directed, combine drugs, or use them with alcohol.

  1. Prescription painkillers are the leading cause of fatal overdoses

    Prescription painkillers cause more overdose deaths than street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past, most overdoses were caused by illegal narcotics and took place in big U.S. cities. However, the number of deaths from opioid painkiller overdoses has more than tripled from 1999 to 2006, resulting in 13,800 deaths.

  2. Opiod painkillers have increased the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths in the United States

    The rate of unintentional drug overdose deaths in the United States have risen tremendously between 1999 and 2007. During that time, more than 28,000 people died from unintentional drug poisoning. This alarming number has been attributed to the increase in both legal and illicit prescription opioid painkiller usage.

  3. Three in 10 teens think prescription pain killers are not addictive

    A large majority of teenagers believe that prescriptions pain relievers are not addictive and “much safer” than illegal drugs. Additionally, 56% of teens think prescription drugs are easier to obtain than street drugs. Teens can easily access prescription pain pills from their family members or friends, and they justify taking the pills because a doctor prescribes them.

  4. Prescription pain pills are the second most commonly abused drug among teens

    As stated above, a high percentage of teenagers think that prescription pain pills are not addictive and less harmful than street drugs, which explains why teenagers abuse this drug more than any illicit drug, except marijuana. Prescription pain meds are the second most commonly abused drug by teens, and they are the most widely misused type of prescription drug overall.

  5. Prescription pain pill abuse and overdose death rates are highest in rural America

    Although prescription drug abuse is rampant throughout the United States, the highest rate of prescription opioid abuse and fatal poisoning occurs predominantly in rural states within the Appalachian and Southwest region. Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and neighboring states are some of the most troubled areas for prescription pain pill abuse.

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