The Feds believe they’re making progress in a push to stop abuse of prescription painkillers, but they still say doctors in the United States are prescribing sufficient addictive prescription painkillers to medicate every individual American 24 hours a day for one month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the chief cause of fatalities may not be car crashes for much longer if prescription painkiller abuse keeps going up at such alarming rates.
Most of our U.S. emergency rooms are witnessing an increasingly large number of fatal overdoses due to prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. They outnumber overdoses of cocaine and heroin combined. Thomas Frieden, CDC Director, says we have an epidemic of opioid overdose. Last year alone we averaged nearly 40 deaths a day, which totaled 15,000 deaths from prescription overdoses.
Frieden believes the majority of blame should lie with the few U.S. physicians that prescribe these types of painkillers too loosely, either from greed or out of a lack of knowledge. One CDC report found that 3%of doctors were responsible for over 60% of opioid prescriptions in California. All but two states have already passed legislation to set up prescription drug management programs, with only Missouri and New Hampshire holding out. In Oklahoma, when an opioid has been prescribed it is entered in the system within minutes, under the recipient’s name.