This headline caught my attention as I watched tonight’s news. I knew drug use and abuse was a problem but I did not realize its extent. For a country that only comprises about 4.6 percent of the world population, the United States consumes about 80 percent of its opioids and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone—Vicodin. An opioid is a chemical that binds to opioid receptors causing decreased perception of pain, increased pain tolerance and decreased reaction to pain. A hydrocodone is characterized as a semi-synthetic opioid.
Vicodin is a huge concern because it is strong and addictive. Despite the continual increase in drug addiction, doctors continue to prescribe Vicodin. Why? It is not as tightly regulated as other narcotics. Vicodin, a class 3 drug, is also an excellent pain reliever from those suffering from mild to severe pain. I think this drug should be regulated much more tightly because its high addictive qualities. Oxycotin another pain reliever , a class 2 drug, but can be just as or more addictive than Vicodin.
Surprisingly the top prescribers are primary care physicians, followed by internists and dentists. The doctors are not solely to blame. Americans are becoming too reliant on pills. I personally feel that I have much trust in medications and sometimes take too much when I am sick so that I can feel better . But pills may not always be the only solution. Sometimes your body needs rest. Simple solutions such as drinking water or taking a nap may help. I am not saying medication is not helpful especially for those suffering from chronic conditions, I just think that doctors and patients need to be more cautious with them
This pill culture has many negative consequences. Many people who take medication are not in pain and do not necessarily need it. Studies have shown that in 17 states more people die from drug overdoses than from car accidents. Today, prescription drug overdoses are killing more than crack and black tar heroin did in the 1970s and 1980s. If drug addiction does not take your life it can hurt your finances. Many sell their possessions just to feed their addiction.
For some reason, I thought the over the counter medications were a bigger problem since they are more accessible. However, these days prescription drugs seem just as readily available as over the counter medicines. Currently over 600,000 medical professionals are licensed to prescribe Vicodin . Also, for Americans medicating at a younger age for diseases such as juvenile diabetes and ADHD there is a greater potential for addiction. Some diabetic medications help with weight loss; therefore, these medications could be abused for that reason.
Prescription drugs are killing Americans and something needs to be done about it. I think that not enough coverage is given to this problem. From 1999 to 2006, the deaths from pain killers tripled. In 2008, the rate of fatal overdoses in cities was 7.9 per 100,000 people. People are always told how recreational drugs are bad but the general consensus about prescription drugs is that they are good for you. Prescription drug addiction is harder to point out but easier to hide. It is much easier to confront someone shooting up heroine beside you then someone taking a prescription because of a supposed headache. Recreational drugs are a problem but prescription drugs are a bigger problem. Because medications have become to widely accepted in today’s society we fail to see the dangers they can really cause.