With a new generation of chronic pain sufferers increasingly seeking help for their pain, researchers and advocates are now questioning how much the public has been overmedicated on the prescription drugs that are being prescribed to them.
And the results are telling.
As of January, more than 7 million Americans had been prescribed a prescription drug for pain at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A similar amount of pain was prescribed for insomnia in 2016.
But this year, with the opioid crisis dominating the news, it’s become a matter of national importance.
We’re seeing the results of a paradigm shift.
In addition to the rising incidence of prescription drug overdoses, the CDC found that nearly 3 million Americans are taking prescription opioids at any given time.
Many of these individuals are people who previously thought that their pain would improve when they stopped taking the pain medication.
However, many of them are finding that their chronic pain has worsened in ways that the medications did not.
The most common reason for prescription drug misuse is that it can be difficult to determine what drugs are prescribed to a patient.
As a result, some people have taken up with prescription drug abuse, taking prescription painkillers to alleviate pain.
According to the CDC, prescription drug abusers are now the most frequent users of prescription drugs in the United States, accounting for more than 40 percent of opioid prescriptions dispensed in 2016 alone.
The numbers are even worse for prescription drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl, which have a history of abuse and dependence and are frequently prescribed to patients who have been prescribed opioids for pain, including those with severe illnesses or conditions.
When doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain, they are often not looking for the most effective painkiller, but rather the most efficient and effective pain reliever, according the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
“The opioid crisis has changed our view of pain,” said Dr. Karen C. Fournier, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of the Center for Chronic Pain and Rehabilitation.
“We have changed our understanding of what pain is and how we treat it.
While the numbers of opioid users may be declining, the number of opioid-using individuals is rising. “
Many doctors and patients have stopped taking opioids because of the opioid-related complications that have been associated with the medications,” she added.
While the numbers of opioid users may be declining, the number of opioid-using individuals is rising.
According the CDC’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more people are taking opioids for their chronic condition than ever before.
The number of people who use opioids for any reason increased by nearly 12 percent in the past decade, and more than 15 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.
The opioid epidemic has been linked to the increase in the use of prescription opioids for opioid-dependent patients.
In 2016, there were an estimated 2.9 million opioid-induced deaths nationwide, and the number increased by almost 8 percent between 2014 and 2016.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that more than 1.3 million Americans who were prescribed opioids to treat their pain had been hospitalized in 2016, including an estimated 639,000 emergency department visits.
The surge in opioid prescriptions has also led to a spike in the number and severity of opioid overdose deaths.
While more than 2 million opioid overdose victims died in 2016 from opioid overdoses, nearly 600,000 of them were opioid-treated.
According a report from the CDC published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, the most common reasons for opioid overdoses are not drug misuse but prescription drug addiction, which is the primary cause of opioid overdoses.
According Dr. Caren Hartman, a professor of trauma and critical care medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, opioid addiction is often tied to a history or addiction to prescription opioids.
“Some opioids are prescribed for chronic conditions that don’t really affect the person,” she said.
“It’s very common for people to be prescribed opioids just because they’re a painkiller or to help relieve pain.”
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) estimates about 1.4 million Americans suffer from opioid addiction.
But Dr. Hartman warns that the problem of opioid addiction can become much more complicated when people begin taking opioids in higher doses than prescribed for a chronic condition.
“When people are given a higher dose, they can actually increase their dose, and then the side effects and toxicity can be much worse,” she explained.
“If you take a higher dosage, you’re going to get more toxicity and more complications.”
One of the most troubling aspects of the prescription drug epidemic is the rising use of opioids in conjunction with the use in combination with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
According one survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more Americans use drugs like cocaine and heroin than in any other year since 2012.