These last few weeks we have been writing a lot about overdosing, and what drugs create the most risk for overdosing. Today we are going to drill down a little bit and talk about one of the top overdose causing drugs, and that's prescription painkillers. Narcotic painkiller abuse run rampant across the country in every state. The high quality opiates are in demand for all sorts of ailments, and doctors are quick to write their patients prescriptions in a turn-key like fashion.
According to a 2012 government report, American healthcare providers signed off on 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, with the numbers varying greatly by state. Based on this 2012 research, the states in the southern portion of the country had the highest number of prescriptions per person written for opioid based narcotic painkillers. According to a more recent report from the Centers for Disease Control called Vital Signs, ten of the highest prescribing states in America are located in the south.
Based on the report, the state with the lowest amount of prescriptions is Hawaii. In 2012, Hawaii showed 52 prescriptions written for every 100 people, compare these numbers to Tennessee and Alabama, which had the highest prescription rates in the country, and the number almost triples. Health providers in Tennessee and Alabama wrote 143 prescriptions for every 100 people.
Dr. Tom Frieden is the Director of the CDC. He stated that “Overdoses from opioid narcotics are a serious problem across the country, and we know that overdose deaths tend to be higher where opioids get heavier use,” and that “Prescription opioids can be an important tool for doctors to use, and some conditions are best treated with opioids, but they are not the answer every time someone has pain.”
For high dosage, or really strong painkillers, the northeastern states lead the nation. Delaware came in at number one in this category with 8.8 prescriptions for every 100 people. Dr. Frieden stated that U.S. Health Care Doctors have written so many prescriptions for opioid painkillers that every single American citizen could currently have a bottle of pills.
According the report, the difference in the distribution by state could not be readily explained by the health statuses of the patients prescribed the painkillers. There were some successes and some states actually showed a reduction in opiate use and overdoses. Florida should be applauded for its efforts. Florida reduced its rates of overdose death from oxycodone by 52% between 2010 and 2012. This is after the state created a law that prohibited doctors from dispensing prescription painkillers from their offices requiring patients to go to a pharmacy instead. Lawmakers also targeted pain clinics and increased regulation here since large quantities of painkillers were being prescribed to patients, sometimes even when they were not needed creating hazardous conditions.
The CDC's report stated that opioid painkiller abuse has been steadily increasing over the past decade. This has led to a large jump in the number of overdose deaths from these painkillers during the same time period. Narcotic painkiller overdose deaths rose from 4,000 in 1999 to more than 16,000 by 2010.
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Legacy Freedom, a center for alcohol and drug rehab Columbus OH services, wants to help you overcome your addiction to prescription painkillers. These narcotics are tough to quit "cold turkey" and that's where we come in. Our outpatient facility and treatment programs allow you to be at home with your family while facing recovery. It will always take a village to help love and nurture you, no matter how old you are. Take the first step toward recovery and call us today.