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American doctors prescribing fewer opioid pain relievers, says report
Posted in Substance Abuse

Continuing a five-year trend, American physicians reduced the number of opioid prescriptions in 2017, according to a report released on May 31, 2018. The American Medical Association (AMA) observed a 9 percent decrease in prescriptions for opioid painkillers, including Vicodin and OxyContin, in 2017, or a reduction of 19 million compared to the previous year. The effort by doctors is aimed at minimizing fatal outcomes of the ongoing opioid crisis in the country.

Patrice Harris, chairperson of the AMA’s Opioid Task Force, said that opioid prescriptions came down by 55 million since 2013, translating to a 22 percent reduction across the U.S. She said that such a decline was an indication of doctors prescribing opioid medications judiciously. As per the AMA report, overall nearly 200 million prescriptions for opioids were written nationwide last year.

In the light of sharp rise in cases of fatal overdoses involving opioids across the U.S., the Chicago-based AMA, which represents the nation’s doctors, noted a 42 percent spike in the number of physicians certified to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) with buprenorphine. Today, over 50,000 American doctors are certified to treat patients struggling with OUD. “What is needed now is a concerted effort to greatly expand access to high quality care for pain and for substance use disorders. Unless and until we do that, this epidemic will not end,” said Harris.

Numbers present real picture

In recent years, addiction to prescription opioids has assumed nightmarish proportions across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses involving prescription opioids claim more than 46 people every day. The CDC data also shows that over 200,000 Americans succumbed to prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2016.

In the last two decades, the rampant non-medical use of prescription opioids has devastated American society. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52 million people over the age of 12 in the country use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in their lifetime in a given year. In October 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.

Therefore, the need of the hour is to expand access to customized medical interventions in a reputed drug abuse rehabilitation center depending on each case. Studies show that those addicted to opioids could end up progressing to heroin because of low cost and easy access. Moreover, both heroin and prescription opioid drugs have strikingly similar chemical structures and bind to the same family of receptors in the brain, temporarily hindering its response to painful stimuli. Experts feel that heroin addiction will further aggravate the existing misery of millions of people who are trapped in the clutches of prescription opioids. Heroin use has increased manifold across the U.S. among all age groups. The drug can be injected, snorted or smoked.

Addiction to Vicodin is treatable

Combating addiction can be a demanding task, given that prescription opioid users tend to manifest compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite being aware of its dangerous outcomes. Though researchers are continuously striving toward discovering alternative therapies to deal with the menace of the opioid epidemic, the secret to curbing addiction lies in educating people about it. In the U.S., most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin or OxyContin.

If you know someone who is suffering from Vicodin addiction, contact Sovereign Health to get world-class treatment and counseling. Our evidence-based Vicodin abuse/addiction treatment includes a combination of residential detox and various alternative therapies. We also impart necessary life skills to help patients adapt to a normal life after the completion of treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know more about our modern Vicodin addiction treatment centers.

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