Pain Medication Abuse.

Specialties Addictions


according to usa today,

addiction to prescription painkillers-which kill thousands of americans a year-has become a largely unrecognized epidemic, experts say. in fact, prescription drugs cause most of the more than 26,000 fatal overdoses each year, says leonard paulozzi of the [color=#00529b]centers for disease control and prevention.

the number of overdose deaths from opioid painkillers-opium-like drugs that include morphine and codeine-more than tripled from 1999 to 2006, to 13,800 deaths that year, according to cdc statistics released wednesday.

in the past, most overdoses were due to illegal narcotics, such as heroin, with most deaths in big cities. prescription painkillers have now surpassed heroin and cocaine, however, as the leading cause of fatal overdoses, paulozzi says. and the rate of fatal overdoses is now about as high in rural areas-7.8 deaths per 100,000 people-as in cities, where the rate is 7.9 deaths per 100,000 people, according to a paper he published last year in pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety.

and my question is: why nursing textbooks ignore this problem???

full text:

It's true that prescription drug deaths have risen compared to those caused by "street drugs." But consider that prescription meds have become highly valued contraband. Criminals are stealing med shipments and selling them to willing buyers. They are the new street drugs.

Then, too, you have to separate intentional overdose from accidental overdose. Prescription drugs are one method of choice for people attempting suicide. They are easier to come by than heroin or meth.

From another post you wrote, you seem to think that because there are problems with prescription narcotics, that patients should only rarely be given them. The short list of those who you stated should get them left many, many patients and conditions out in the cold.

It is not the job of the floor nurse to decide if someone has a problem with prescription drugs. She can certainly express her concerns to her supervisor or the doc, but it isn't her place to try to wean someone off narcotics or withhold properly prescribed medication. Indeed, she can find herself in hot water if she goes that route.

I don't think people are ignoring addiction or prescription med fatalities. They just don't seem to see matters as black and white as you appear to.

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