For people with chronic and reoccurring pain, opioids, such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, not only relieve suffering, but can help support a normal lifestyle, alleviate stress and improve sleep. But there is a downside – prescription opioids can be just as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs.
Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem and has been classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ show that positivity rates for prescription opiates increased 40 percent from 2005 – 2009 and have continued to climb each year.
The over-prescription of pain medications has not only led to an increase in opiate-abusers, but has also contributed to a rise in heroin use. Research from the National Drug Intelligence Center shows that heroin use increased 79 percent from 2007 – 2012. It appears that with the high costs associated with prescription opiates, many drug users have turned to alternative, cheaper options such as heroin.
To create awareness around these alarming statistics, the Working Partners of Columbus, Ohio has developed the new video A Dose of Reality, with the goal of enlisting American workers in recognizing and combatting the prescription-drug problem.
Learn more about the dangers of prescription opioids.
Quest Diagnostics released a Health Trends™ report with a three-year analysis of prescription drug use from more than 1.4 million test results. The study examined the risks of prescription drug misuse and efforts at the state level to reduce abuse.
Patients, regardless of age or gender, sometimes use dangerous drug combinations and skip doses. Michael R. Clark, M.D., MPH, MBA, associate professor and director, Chronic Pain Treatment Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is quoted in the press release, “Patients are still substituting, supplementing, and diverting their prescribed controlled substances.”
Five states have implemented multi-faceted prescription drug abuse prevention programs in recent years, and these same states showed the greatest rate of decline in prescription drug misuse. Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and New York experienced an average decline that was nearly 2.5 times greater than the average of all other states combined. Actions taken in these states included prescription drug databases, physician and patient education and public awareness campaigns. This portion of the study shows promising signs that the right strategies can help to make progress against the prescription drug epidemic.
Quest Diagnostics is a leader in prescription and workplace drug testing. In much the same way that this Health Trends report showed trends in prescription drug use, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ details trends of drug use by U.S. workers. For more information about our drug testing products and services, contact us online.