Take a look at the history of prescription pain medicine and you’ll see some alarming statistics.

Prescription pain medicines were introduced by the World Health Organization in 1986 to help offset acute pain from Cancer and other debilitating diseases. The world health organization recommended over the counter medicines, ibuprofen, as an example, to help nullify the pain. If the over the counter medications couldn’t work, only then would patients be prescribed codeine or other opiods.

As we reach a new decade, prescription pain killers have become mainstream; they’re no longer just for people who suffer from pain after surgery, an extreme accident, etc….They’re for anybody looking for a way out of pain – physically or emotionally. They are a band-aid that numbs all pain.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 15 million Americans over the age of 12 have taken prescription medications. The United States is by far the leading dealer of pain medications. There are 180 million prescriptions for opiods in the United States. Roughly 99% of the world’s supply of Vicodin is sold within the United States. If those numbers don’t alarm you, maybe this will: The total use of opiods is up from 40 million in 1991… that’s a 450% increase. Are we in that much more pain than the rest of the world? Are new diseases on the rise that are causing an increased demand for prescription pain medication? Take a look at cancer, for example. There are about 1.4 million new cancer cases in 2009. In 2000, there were 1.2 million new cases. That’s roughly a 5% increase per year. Certainly, cancer isn’t the only chronic condition causing people pain, but it is a leading indicator of our nation’s health. To see the trend in prescription pain medication turn upward so radically is something worth exploring, to say the least.

Prescription drug abuse is specifically defined as the use of prescription drug medicines without a prescription, or for consuming double or more than what is prescribed. Quite simply, prescription drug abuse is taking more, building a tolerance, feeling less, and always wanting the next batch until ways to get it is achieved, legally or illegally. Eventually, nothing except getting the drug matters. What once were pain killers prescribed for the most severe pain, prescriptions like this are now taken by millions. It’s the norm.

CNS Depressants slow brain function in order to offset anxiety or sleep issues. The three categories are barbiturates, Benzodiazepines (Valium/Xanex), and sleep medications (Ambien, Lyrica)

Stimulants have grown in popularity, particularly in individuals 18-years-old and under. Stimulants increase alertness, heart rate, and awareness. Originally the drug was diagnosed to help treat narcolepsy. Today, it is a primary treatment in Attention Hyperactivity Disorder and is used in some cases of depression. About 11%  (probably more) of 12th graders take some form of stimulant.

Of those using the drugs non-medically, 56% say that they got the drug from someone they knew and didn’t pay for it. Millions of people are taking prescriptions that they weren’t prescribed. Addiction and death are always a risk with prescription drugs.  Between 1999 and 2002 the number of overdose deaths  by opioid painkillers went up by 91.2%. Remember, these are from drugs people are getting from somebody else, that they weren’t prescribed themselves and that are in high demand. A substantial portion of these individuals, also happen to be under the legal voting age.

Fibromyalgia is one of the conditions geared towards treating multiple symptoms with traditional Western medicine. As each symptom is tackled by a prescribed medication, another one emerges as does another prescription. Soon tallying three, four, five or more pills prescribed daily, the side-effects intertwine and result in addiction, possible hallucinations, and other mentally deteriorating side-effects from an untested narcotic cocktail. Used to relieve the pain of fibromyalgia, there are many studies where sufferers find themselves battling something even more painful that they never bargained for and don’t know how to recover. When addiction begins, where does symptoms from fibromyalgia end?

This is a controversial topic. Prescription meds have helped people, they have hurt people. They have killed people.

Please contact us and let us know what you think! Your opinion is important!



Megan Rellahan

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