Addiction to prescription painkillers is a serious problem. In fact, nearly half of Americans personally know someone suffering from prescription opioid addiction. And, most Americans express desires for more systematic actions to be taken to treat and prevent painkiller abuse. Clearly, something needs to be done regarding this important issue.

Addiction to Painkillers: A Widespread Issue

In a recent national poll, 44% of Americans said that they personally know someone who has struggled with addiction to painkillers. 26% said that it was an acquaintance, 21% said that it was a close friend, 20% said that it was a family member, and 2% said that it was themselves. Clearly, this is a very widespread issue.

In the same poll, 35% of people reported viewing heroin abuse as an extremely serious problem. However, fewer people (28%) reported viewing prescription opioid abuse as an extremely serious problem. In reality, far fewer people die from heroin overdoses than those who die from prescription opioid abuse. Furthermore, even fewer people (19%) reported alcohol abuse as an extremely serious problem.

Taking Action Against Addiction

Nonetheless, a similar percentage of respondents claim that the federal government should take more action towards buffering prescription opioid abuse (66%) and heroin abuse (62%). More than 80% support the following strategies to act against addiction to prescription painkillers:

First, the healthcare industry can start by improving access to addiction treatment programs. This can lead to more research on pain management, which will allow for the implementation of public education programs. Finally, the secondary steps should be intensifying pain management training for medical students and doctors and monitoring doctors’ painkiller prescription patterns.

Less than half of respondents favor allowing the non-prescription sale of the overdose antidote naloxone. Specifically, this was 45% among people with and 30% among people without personal experience with painkiller abuse. To read more about statistics concerning addiction to prescription painkillers, see the source article at the NCAAD website.

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