PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTION
America’s Most Deadly Addiction Threat
Prescription drug addiction continues to kill thousands of Americans each year. It is unquestionably the most pervasive and dominant addiction issue facing the U.S. population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2014, there were over 25,000 prescription-drug related deaths. That year represented a ten-year high, signifying a dangerous and alarming public health trend. While these drugs have proven enormously effective in the treatment of various moderate to severe medical conditions, they have also proven to be highly addictive and highly susceptible to diversion and abuse by external parties. The problem of prescription drug addiction has grown to be a complex and multi-layered issue involving numerous stakeholders.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
The most dangerous and commonly abused categories of prescriptions are opioids (painkillers) and benzodiazepines (sedatives). These drugs are responsible for more overdoses each year than heroin and cocaine combined.
Opioid (Painkillers) – Powerful family of prescriptions developed to treat severe conditions like cancer-related and post-operative pain. Common brand names include OxyContin® (oxycodone), Vicodin® (hydrocodone) and Percocet®(oxycodone and acetaminophen). Opioids have proven to be the most deadly form of prescription drug, killing over 18,000 Americans last year.
Benzodiazepines (“benzos”) – Sedatives used to treat anxiety and sleep disorder. Common brand-name benzos include Xanax® (alprazolam), Valium® (diazepam) and Klonopin® (Clonazepam). Xanax is the most commonly abused prescription across the globe. Benzos are especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
These drugs, and all other prescriptions should only be taken under the careful supervision of an experienced medical professional.