According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid-related deaths in 2014 increased 14 percent from the previous year. The CDC also reports that drug overdoses now exceed car crashes as the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the U.S. – most of which involve prescription opioids like OxyContin and Percocet.
While these statistics are alarming, they are not surprising. The sales of prescription opioids have increased in the U.S. by 300 percent since 1999. This over-prescription of pain killers is causing an epidemic across the country.
Although pain management is a necessity for many people, the risks of each treatment should be taken into careful consideration. In an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, while still providing pain treatment to those that need it, the CDC has proposed new prescribing guidelines for doctors, urging them to try other pain relief methods before opting for opioids.
Prescription opioids provide relief for those who suffer from chronic or reoccurring pain, and are therefore, a necessary evil. That said, improving the way opioids are prescribed through the proposed clinical practice guidelines can help ensure patients have access to safer, more effective pain treatments while reducing the chances for misuse, abuse or overdose.
For more information about opiate testing, visit our website.