Year after year, different government agencies perform surveys and studies in order to see if its campaigns and programs were effective in addressing the growing problem on opiate addiction. However, news of the steady increase in the number of Americans getting addicted each year, is becoming old news to us. Opiate addiction was and continues to be a very alarming epidemic in the United States, and through the years, the efforts of the federal and state governments have seemed to fail in stemming the tide of this problem.
Incidentally, the number of people who have died due to overdose and other complications related to opiate addiction has doubled. Yet, at the same time there was a notable increase in the number of prescriptions for opiates that are being handed out to treat pain management. It has been noted that a large number of people initially took opiates to manage pain. Unfortunately, its natural properties made it very hard for them to stop taking the drug and they eventually become dependent on its use. In an effort to pull down the numbers, the FDA proposes that stricter restrictions be made in prescribing these medications and they should be issued only to those who really need it. We have yet to see the effect of this ruling but hopefully, it will reduce the occurrences of opiate addiction.
Many attribute the lack of patient education as a factor that also contributes to the rise of opiate addiction in the US. If patients are made aware of the high risk of opiate addiction and the danger to their life and safety, then it is possible that many would be more cautious and follow their physician’s orders by the letter.
There are more deaths due to overdose from legally prescribed opiates compared to those who have died due to illegal narcotics.
There has also been a remarkable rise of heroin addiction in recent years. This is largely due to the transition many addicts make when they find it difficult to keep getting prescription based opiates. Heroin is definitely cheaper than prescription drugs and often times easier to obtain.
The future of opiate addiction in the US is still very unclear and any tangible changes from the new policies may not be apparent until after a couple more years. The new regulations will admittedly help new patients be more aware of the risks of undergoing opiate treatment. It is the goal of these policies to raise awareness in every patient and hopefully lead to a decrease in addiction rates.