An interesting post was made on the DrugFree.org website related to a recent survey which found that the primary drug of abuse among “affluent” addicted women was prescription opioids or heroin.
The definition of affluent included those whose annual family income exceeded $100,000. Of those who entered treatment for their addiction, 61% of them identified prescription opioids as their predominant addiction problem.
The survey found that 70% of those who developed an addiction reported that their initial use was related to a prescription of legal medications for the treatment of pain or emotional problems.
The opioid epidemic has shown how universal addiction problems actually are by transcending all types of assumed barriers and biases. Opioid addiction is a very clear brain disease and poses risk, even in prescribed legitimate uses, to those individuals with no prior addiction-related problems or high risk behaviors.
For individuals receiving prescription pain medication, it is imperative that they have a thoughtful and candid discussion with their prescribing physician about the recommended dosage and length of time a particular pain medication is to be taken. Many physicians are highly assertive with their patients and do an excellent job of informing them of potential risks. Conversely, some physicians do not regularly educate patients on key medication issues often providing no more than a printout of medication information.
With prescription opioids, it is essential that medical professionals take the necessary time to fully inform consumers of the potential for developing a dependency on the medication. Patients need to maintain an awareness of a medication’s addictive potential. It is also vitally important that opioid prescriptions in particular be safeguarded from children & teenagers, and then properly destroyed when no longer being taken. See the Flip The Script facebook page for more information on this important topic.
As we move forward through 2014, it seems likely that we will hear more in the news media about the proliferation of opioid addiction and associated costs and consequences. Sharing your concerns with family and friends is one way to help insure that more people remain aware of the risks. Sustaining the discussion on opioid addiction and medication-assisted treatment (methadone, suboxone, naltrexone) is a worthwhile ambition.