Prescription Opioid Risks

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou Aug 31, 2015

Here is a sobering statistic: Prescription opioids played a role in more than 16,235 deaths in the USA in 2013. 

Notice there are a few key points in that statement.  

1. Opioids - What are "opioids"?  These include drugs such as oxycodone/Roxicodone, Percocet, Vicodin/hydrocodone, Opana, Morphine, Dilaudid, Demerol, and Fentanyl.  

2. Prescription - that means that a doctor wrote a prescription for someone, so these data are not to be lumped together with illegal opioids such as heroin. 

Sometimes medicines intended for a patient are stolen, and sometimes medications intended for aid become an addiction, but nevertheless, the important point is that we are talking about medications which are legal.

3. 16,000 deaths. 

To put that in perspective, in the same year, according to 11,208 firearm homicides and 16,121 total homicides occurred in the United States according to the CDC. Among people aged 25-64 years old, the report from jc recovery charlotte cited drug overdose (all drugs, not only prescription opioids) caused more deaths than motor vehicle crashes.  

The issue of the legitimate prescription and responsible use of opioids is one that each person should discuss with his or her physician.  My point is not that every legitimate use of opioid medications will end up in abuse or overdose.  However, it is also prudent for those who respect the inherent risks of prescription opioids to collaborate with our schools, our students, parents, teachers and enforcement agencies to bring increased education and safety for our current and future generations. Those who have succumbed to the dark path of substance abuse, can still seek the professional help of recovery centers, like this MAT center, for instance.