Taking Action to Prevent Opioid Abuse and Misuse

take action against misuse and abuse

  • America has a drug problem that is touching the lives of all of its citizens.
  • Opioids – prescription and illicit – are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 70,237 deaths in 2017, and opioid overdose deaths were six times higher in 2017 than in 1999. (ref: CDC)
  • In 2016, more than 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids. (Ref: AAOA)
  • Approximately 53 percent of people who misused opioids obtained them from a friend or relative for free. (Ref: AAOA, Ibid)
  • Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for not using opioid prescriptions as directed. (Ref: AAOA, Ibid)
  • An average of one hundred thirty Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. (ref: CDC)
  • Opioid prescribing in the U.S. hit its highest point in 2010 with providers writing more than 80 prescriptions per 100 patients. (Ref: AAOA)
  • Since 2010 the number of prescriptions has dropped more than 10%. (Ref: Ibid)
  • Recent government data estimate that close to 92 million people (38 percent of the U.S. population) used prescription opioids in 2014–2015. (Ref: Ibid)
  • A recent study found that more than two-thirds of patients who undergo surgery do not use all of their painkillers, and few safely store or dispose of these medications. (Ref: Ibid).
  • The following drugs should also never be combined with opioids:
    – Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax® and Valium®)
    – Muscle relaxants (such as Soma® or Flexeril®)
    – Hypnotics (such as Ambien® or Lunesta®)
    – Other prescription opioids

Living with Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be devastating, and effective pain management is important to getting your life back. It is essential that you and your doctor discuss treatment options, carefully considering all of the risks and benefits. Some medications, such as prescription opioids, can help relieve pain in the short term but also come with serious risks and potential complications—and should be prescribed and used carefully. (CDC)

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