Opioid Prescriptions Run Amuck

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For more than a decade, researchers and physicians have know that opioid drugs are among some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs known to humankind.

In fact, the death rate from drug overdoses tied largely to opioid drugs is now estimated to be 125 Americans each and every day – or 47,000 per year.  That estimate does not begin to count the sharply higher number of individuals and families suffering with addictions to these drugs.

One year ago, we wrote that things were so bad, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) felt compelled to issue new physician guidelines on opioid painkilling drug prescribing.

The guidelines were released on the same day that medical researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine published research showing that despite the obvious dangers, physicians were prescribing more opioid painkillers than ever before following common and often simple surgeries.

More than 12 months ago we also wrote about a just then published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that showed 91% of patients who overdosed on a prescription painkiller continued to receive prescriptions for that painkiller with 70% of these continuing prescriptions coming from the same provider that provided the drugs before the overdose.

Well, incredibly, we have yet another study – this new one published in the journal Addiction.   The pharmacy data analyzed for this study shows that 43% of patients being treated for opioid addictions and being prescribed buprenorphine (a drug used to help addicts break their addiction to opioids) were also simultaneously being prescribed more powerful opioids.

You read that correctly.  Thousands of patients are being treated for opioid addiction while simultaneously being prescribed and taking powerful opioids.

As we have long stated – organized medicine needs to kick its opioid prescribing habit – its over-reliance on this deadly and addictive class of drugs.  It also needs to end its sick making alliance with the big drug companies.

Opioid addiction in Connecticut, New Hampshire and across the U.S. is destroying lives while it destroys families.  Only urgent and coordinated action will turn the deadly tide.  Organized medicine must address this problem with all of the tools at its disposal.

If you are struggling with an addiction to these drugs and need help in Connecticut or New Hampshire, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help.  Our unique model of care is producing rates of recovery that are more that 300% above the national average.  To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com.