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US Prescription Opioid Deaths and Dependency on the Rise

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Frank Hoffman2 years ago

Fox News reports that a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of Maryland (SAMHSA) has found that although the rate of opioid abuse has fallen over a ten year period, the amount of patients developing dependency disorders has been on the rise.

New Research Details

While researchers say that the drop in opioid usage is a ‘hopeful finding’, they also expressed concern that the increase in dependency disorders indicates that more people are becoming frequent opioid users after their initial prescription.

Overdose related to opioid use showed an over 3-percent increase during the research period. Additionally, the amount of people who have developed a use disorder after using opiates has increased by 4 percent.

Researchers point to flaws in medical professional’s prescription practices as well as inappropriate usage by patients as the primary causes of these increases. SAMHAS suggests that more effective training programs be implemented for doctors to help guide prescription practices and reduce instances of overdoes.

Prescription Overdose Data

  • According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 44 people die daily from prescription overdose.
  • Nearly two million Americans, aged 12 or older, either abused or were dependent on opioids in 2013.
  • From 1999 to 2013, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the US has quadrupled, despite the fact that there has been change in the amount of pain reported by patients.
  • In 2012, Medical professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.  


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