The latest opiate addiction statistics

opiate addiction statisticsThe abuse of and addiction to opiate drugs is astounding. As the latest opiate addiction statistics, Heroin is the most widely used illegal opiate, but prescription opiate painkillers are just as prevalent, and just as dangerous.

In what commonly starts as treatment for intense pain from a back injury, for example, prescription opiates, generally in pill form, are appropriately administered. From there, the person taking the pills feels pain less and less, to a point where the discontinuation of the opiate painkiller makes any pain feel excruciating.

What happens next? The individual starts taking more pills at one time, or in one day, to stop the physical pain, but then any emotional pain that has been numbed by the drug.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately two million people in the United States alone are addicted to prescription opiates.

The popular FOX television series, House, pretty accurately depicts an opiate-addicted medical physician with its fictitious character, Gregory House, M.D.

  • Vicodin is House’s drug of choice, and according to Rehab International, a resource for finding drug and alcohol treatment, opiate dependency is estimated to affect nearly 10% of modern-day medical practitioners.

The problem is not limited to the medical community. First use of an opiate seems to be getting younger.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that:

  • An estimated 52 million people (20 percent of those aged 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime.

  • About 1 in 12 high school seniors reported past-year nonmedical use of the prescription pain reliever, Vicodin.

  • About 1 in 20 high school seniors reported abusing OxyContin.

  • The total number of opiate prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacies in the United States rose from 76 million in 1991 to 210 million in 2010.

  • There is an increasing epidemic of babies being delivered addicted to opiates due to their mothers’ difficulty in halting the use of heroin during pregnancy

The latest statistics clearly show that opiate addiction is a problem.

photo credit: StockMonkeys.com

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